Nora Demers Homepage   

First International Conference on

Mining Impacts to the Human and Natural Environments

March 15, 2008

Best Western Conference Center Punta Gorda, FL

Schedule of Events

 

NETWORKING PORTAL

Welcome- on these pages you will hear from conference attendees about their efforts to ensure that Florida remains a desirable place to live.  If you are interested or feel you can assist them, please contact and expand the network.

Here are some details about Palm Beach County's efforts to mine sustainably from Matt Schwarz

Folks,

In spite of what looked like a successful push on the part of Sierra and other local environmental groups to bury these new mines at the Palm Beach County Commission special mining summit in March, it looks like there's still a lot of momentum from some quarters pushing them forward.  There's a lot of nonsense in this article - especially the certainty asserted by the lawyer for the mining interests about the quality drinking water that these mines will hold -

In addition to county approval, the mines need state environmental permits to proceed.

Annual water quality testing and blasting reports are among the requirements intended to prevent environmental damage from the mining, said Alan Ciklin, an attorney representing Lake Harbor Quarry.

"This will be well taken care of," Ciklin said. "The water from this mine will meet drinking water quality standards."

Considering the presence of benzene and other effects known to have taken place in waters filling in the mines of the Miami Lake Belt District, Ciklin's assertion seems ridiculous.  Virtually no comprehensive objective studies have been done yet on these proposed mines in the EAA and a lawyer for the miners is assuring us that all is well.  See this story on Judge Hoeveler's decision in a Sierra lawsuit that we won -

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/03/24/news_pf/State/Judge__Corps_failed_G.shtml

Here's a blog which tries to spin this topic from the other perspective.  Always good to know what the opposition is up to -

http://www.keepfloridarockin.org/whatsnew.html

There's some talk about a Sierra mining summit of our own to organize around this issue to be held in Palm Beach County.  Keep posted.

With all the work south Florida Sierra leaders have put into Everglades restoration for decades, its almost hard to believe this is happening.  Critical land we once hoped would be returned to glades and provide waters which would sustain the ecosystem from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay might instead be converted into rock pits filled with polluted water to provide material for future sprawl - or perhaps more vacant office buildings.

Matt


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-flpmines0404pnapr04,0,951144.story

 

Another story on this topic which notes the complete lack of public comment at the meeting is here -

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/florida/story/482332.html

 

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-flpmines0404pnapr04,0,951144.story

 

sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/sfl-flpmines0404pnapr04,0,951144.story

South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

2 rock mines win key endorsement in county

Critics say plans may harm water supply, Everglades

By Andy Reid

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

10:42 PM EDT, April 3, 2008

Two rock mines that would open more of the Everglades Agricultural Area to decades of digging moved a step closer to approval on Thursday.

The Palm Beach County Zoning Commission endorsed plans for the Lake Harbor Quarry, which would cover 7,000 acres of sugar cane land four miles south of Lake Okeechobee and three miles west of U.S. 27.

Zoning commissioners also recommended approval for the Bergeron mine to expand to 553 acres on the west side of U.S 27, seven miles south of County Road 827.

The mines that provide rock and sand used for road building and other construction still need approval from the County Commission. The mining plans go before county commissioners April 24.

They are among four new or expanded mines proposed in the Everglades Agricultural Area 700,000 acres of sugar cane and other farmland that buffers the Everglades.

The mining proposals have been slowed by concerns that the digging could allow pollutants to contaminate underground water supplies. Opponents also argue that mining could interfere with Everglades restoration by tying up large tracts of land that could be needed for reservoirs and water treatment areas.

The Bergeron proposal calls for mining up to 100 acres per year over nine years. It would be the expansion of an almost 400-acre mine next door.

Plans for the Lake Harbor Quarry also call for mining 100 acres per year, but stretched over 71 years. Taking that piecemeal approach allows the landowners to avoid triggering tougher development requirements.

"They are intentionally seeking to avoid scrutiny," said Lisa Interlandi, an attorney for the Everglades Law Center. "There is a huge concern about the impacts that large-scale mining will have on Everglades restoration and on our water supply."

Mining proponents counter there are numerous regulatory safeguards for mining operations and that the rock is needed to build the infrastructure for a growing population.

In addition to county approval, the mines need state environmental permits to proceed.

Annual water quality testing and blasting reports are among the requirements intended to prevent environmental damage from the mining, said Alan Ciklin, an attorney representing Lake Harbor Quarry.

"This will be well taken care of," Ciklin said. "The water from this mine will meet drinking water quality standards."

When the digging stops, the Lake Harbor mines are supposed to be converted to reservoirs to provide an alternative water supply to irrigate surrounding sugar cane land. That would reduce the need to take water from Lake Okeechobee for irrigation, Ciklin said.

"I think this is a positive, positive in all aspects," Zoning Commissioner Sherry Hyman said.

In May 2006, county commissioners proposed a moratorium on new rock mines to address environmental concerns raised about a plan to mine 4,000 acres of sugar cane fields east of U.S. 98, three miles north of U.S. 441.

Mining companies challenged the ban, but the county continued to stall new proposals for more mines to spread across the Everglades Agricultural Area.

The county continues to explore the possibility of doing a comprehensive study of mining implications.

That could come too late for the mining proposals zoning commissioners unanimously supported on Thursday.

Zoning Commissioner Al Zucaro questioned taking action before county commissioners formalized their position on mining in the EAA.

"It seems that we are moving the ball down the road," Zucaro said.

Andy Reid can be reached at abreid@sun-sentinel.com or 561-228-5504.

Copyright 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Please enjoy your visit, and contact me with your thoughts.

 
Demers &  Meers (2006). All rights reserved.
Do not reproduce without permission.
Last updated April 8, 2008