The Suwannee St. John’s Sierra Club North Florida Working Group has been working closely with other concerned groups including Our Santa Fe River and Citizens Against Phosphate Mining in Bradford and Union Counties to stop the proposed HPSII phosphate mine, which is requesting permits to mine over 10,000 acres. Currently, Union County has a moratorium in place until February 2018 against accepting any applications for phosphate mining in that county. Bradford County Board of County Commissioners voted against a moratorium and subsequently, a mining application was filed with their County. Lately, grassroots efforts to resist the mine have been concentrated in Bradford County to educate the public about the dangers of phosphate mining. Educational efforts include postcard mailings to citizens, sample letters to the Board of County Commissioners, booths at local events, and many signs to raise awareness in the community. Citizens are being encouraged to attend public meetings and express their opposition to the proposed mine. At the request of concerned citizens, several city councils have passed resolutions against phosphate mining.
The HPSII mining operation is proposed to occur on both sides of the New River, a tributary of the Santa Fe River. The New River is one of the last remaining habitats for the endangered Oval Pigtoe mussel. The New River is fed by seepage from the surficial aquifer, according to HPSII’s own documentation filed with FDEP. The HPSII mining operation will “de-water” the areas they propose to mine using a “ditch and berm” method, which will disrupt the surficial aquifer that feeds the New River. The concern is that the flow of the New River could be significantly altered, which would adversely affect the endangered species as well as the other species that inhabit the river. Diminished flows to the New River and downstream, the Santa Fe River, could have far-reaching negative effects to the ecology of these rivers and to eco-tourism.
Please make your voice heard in opposition to this proposed mine. Attend a Bradford County commission meeting and give public comment, or send them a letter. All concerned citizens’ input is important, but constituents of the commissioners have the most influence, so if you live in Bradford or Union County, please make your voice heard!
For more information go to Citizens Against Phosphate Mining in North Central Florida’s Facebook page. They have a petition available for citizens to sign. Also, there is a sample letter you can download and send at http://www.citizensagainstphosphatemining.org/take-action.html.
Please consider making a donation to help fight this mine. Donations can be made to SSJ Sierra Club and mailed to P.O. Box 13951, Gainesville, FL 32604 or via Paypal by clicking here: