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Here is a story with links from Sydney Bacchus to the Palm Beach Post regarding a recent news story about the mine pits that are costing taxpayers over $200 million.

Date: 3/30/2008 3:37:55 PM

To: Palm Beach Post

Cc: Robert King;  Frank Cerabino;  Sally Swartz;  Antigone Barton

Subject: unsupported claims for mine pits


March 30, 2008



Attention: Editors

Letters to the Editor

Palm Beach Post

P.O. Box 24700

West Palm Beach, FL  33416-4700


Dear Editors,


I was dismayed by the misuse of terms in Robert King¹s March 27th article

(below) on the Palm Beach rock pits.  He did a commendable job dismissing

the mining industry¹s efforts to portray mined pits as ³lakes.²

Unfortunately his article incorrectly references the ³six deep pits near

Loxahatchee², set for purchase by the SFWMD for $213.9 million, as

³reservoirs² that will provide water ³storage.²


Although the mining industry and SFWMD use these terms to describe mine

pits, in my opinion the Post¹s perpetuation of these misnomers is a grave

disservice to the unsuspecting public.  The SFWMD attempts to justify

spending more than $200 million of Florida residents¹ hard-earned tax

dollars on these mine pits as something positive that will conserve water

and even ³restore² the Everglades.


I have not seen a single scientific study to confirm such incredible claims.

In fact, I have made multiple requests for Palm Beach County provide a copy

of even a statement by a licensed professional asserting that water is not

flowing freely into and out of the mine pits referenced as ³storage.²  The

active dewatering of such pits ­ and the aquifer supporting the Loxahatchee

National Wildlife Refuge and Everglades ­ via evaporative water loss already

has been documented in a USGS publication.


Until the County or SFWMD produce results of a scientific study proving

these pits fulfill SFWMD claims, I urge you to reassign coverage of mine

pits touted as ³storage,² ³reservoirs² or ³restoration² to Frank Cerabino.

He is far more adept at reporting farcical stories than Robert King.  At

least the taxpayers will get some humor for their $200+ million expenditure



Sydney Bacchus, Ph. D.


Athens, GA 30603




2.7-foot dispute could cost rock-pit firm $1.5 million




Palm Beach Post Staff Writer


Thursday, March 27, 2008


Water managers are withholding a final $6 million payment to Palm Beach

Aggregates until they resolve a 2.7-foot discrepancy about the depth of a

reservoir the mining company created for the Everglades restoration.


The South Florida Water Management District called it a minor snag in its

2003 deal with the company. Water managers have put $213.9 million into a

court-controlled bank account to pay Aggregates for its work, saying the

company has delivered the 15 billion gallons of storage it promised in six

deep pits near Loxahatchee.


The impasse centers on how much extra storage Aggregates created beyond the

minimum required. That will mean a month's delay in the final payment,

district land-acquisition director Ruth Clements said Wednesday.


The discrepancy centers on the depth of one pit. The company's and

district's estimates differ by 2.7 feet, or about 100 million gallons.


"We are going to wait 30 days, go out and resurvey," Clements said.

Stirred-up sediment may have skewed surveyors' results, he said. The final

answer will decide whether the payment is $6 million or $4.5 million.


Regardless, the company must leave $15 million in the account until the

district verifies that the pits hold water.


The district calls the reservoir project a success, but it turned

controversial after former Palm Beach County Commissioners Tony Masilotti

and Warren Newell were jailed in corruption cases that arose partly from

deals involving the company. Aggregates executives were never charged and

have said they did nothing wrong.



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