Here is a note with links from Matthew Schwartz, Political Chair and Outings Leader, Broward Group of the Sierra Club about the EAA mining proposal
It was great meeting all of you at the conference. I definitely learned something and had a good time in the process. Thanks for the excellent presentations.
The section below from the Executive Summary gives you some idea of the general tone that the staff is taking on this issue. The Commission itself seems confused - they're not geologists and haven't really looked at the topic from the technical point of view. When I spoke to them (my 2 minutes at a commission meeting) about the probable permeability of the rock in the EAA and the possible effects (from the attached article by the National Academy of Sciences dealing with the Miami-Dade Lake Belt District - see the section labeled Water Quality Considerations) at least one of the Commissioners seemed moved and talked about a possible 'fatal flaw' in this entire project. It would be great if they and the Governor came to the same conclusion.
Let me know your thoughts when you get a chance. This issue in the heart of the Everglades (that is supposed to be restored at a cost of billions) will be in the news for some time. I also have lots of technical documents from both USGS and SFWMD that I just received on Friday that I haven't even looked at yet. I'm also not a geologist and some of them will probably be outside my ability to interpret correctly. Figure 1 (page 13 of the PBC report) has a map of the EAA with the proposed mines.
Picture is from one of my Sierra hikes in Big Cypress National Preserve that I spoke about. You're all invited to join on one someday when you have some time and you're in the neighborhood. We have fun out there.
Political Chair and Outings Leader
Broward Group of the Sierra Club
The section below from the Executive Summary gives you some idea of the general tone that the staff is taking on this issue.
In addressing the hydrogeology of the EAA, it is noted that the EAA covers approximately 700,000 acres of which about 500,000 acres (over 750 square miles) are cultivated. See Figure 1 for a location map of the EAA. The geology of the EAA is heterogeneous meaning that it varies substantially throughout the EAA. However, all sediment borings (sediment borings are shallow holes penetrating only the depth of the rock formation expected to be mined) done to date have not shown rock formations with as great a porosity as would be found in Miami-Dade County. This tighter geological formation and more importantly the lower water elevation of the EAA compared to surrounding lands tend to severely restrict water flow out of the EAA. Nothing has occurred over the last 50 years that would have caused the geology or hydrogeology to change from it current existing condition. These conclusions are borne out in several geological studies done in the EAA throughout the years starting with the Garald Parkerstudy on the water resources of south Florida in 1955. Additionally, the material contained in this current study has been reviewed by the Assistant State Geologist for FDEP, a consulting geologist working for the mining industry, the geological consultant for FDOT who recently completed the FDOT aggregates study, and the SFWMD’s chief engineer from the Watershed Management Department.
Permeabilities of the transmissive sediment layers within the EAA are generally several magnitudes lower than those in Eastern Palm Beach County due to the limited occurrence of highly permeable sediments. In addition, the water levels in the EAA that are usually maintained only slightly below ground surface are several feet below the water levels maintained in the surrounding areas (Conservation Areas to the south and east, ranch lands to the west and Lake Okeechobee to the north). The lower transmissivity and water levels make the hydrogeology and resulting interactions completely different than those of the Miami-Dade County Lake Belt Area. What this means from a hydraulic standpoint is the flow gradient tends to be from the perimeter of EAA toward the middle of the EAA. This information provides the technical reasoning why the movement of high chloride water from the EAA is not likely. Additionally, the permitting process currently in place provides an opportunity to evaluate all mines (by applying specific criteria) to determine if adverse water quality impacts are possible.
The conference focused on adverse impacts from mining currently not addressed or evaluated by regulatory agencies and municipalities, as well as alternatives to mining and approaches for improved monitoring and evaluation of existing and proposed mine sites and mine-related impacts. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of scientists, other professionals and citizens, combined with sponsorship by the organizations below to cover conference costs, this conference is free and open to the public. This conference strives to be 100% carbon neutral and environmentally friendly.
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This resource focuses on adverse impacts from mining currently not addressed or evaluated by regulatory agencies and municipalities, as well as alternatives to mining and approaches for improved monitoring and evaluation of existing and proposed mine sites and mine-related impacts. This portal is made possible thanks to the volunteer efforts of scientists, other professionals and citizens.