Update 2017-08-31: More maps and other information in the Phosphate Mining page.
The proposed HPSII phosphate mine on the New River in Bradford and Union Counties, Florida, features in Dave Wilson’s talk from April. HPSII would be upstream from the Santa Fe River, and thus upstream from the Suwannee River.
WWALS Watershed Coalition opposes the HPSII phosphate mine. We see no benefit in Union and Bradford Counties suffering effects such as those outlined in Dave Wilson’s slides, and looking like Hamilton County in these aerials:
Pictures by Jim Tatum and John S. Quarterman from a Southwings flight for WWALS on 22 October 2016, including some videos and a google maps showing the location of the pictures
Here is some background on HPSII and the opposition to it. Brittany Dionne, WTLV, 7 March 2016, Community grapples with proposed phosphate mining project,
LAKE BUTLER, Fla. — For more than four hours Monday evening, residents in Union County argued with the mining company HPSII over a proposed phosphate mining project residents claims would jeopardize their health and property value.
“We have many concerns with the issue of mining among them is the destruction of the river, destruction of our property values, the destruction of the scenic beauty of our rural county, and the environmental health concerns. I’m sure people have seen that phosphate mining is linked to cancer,” said Eric Thomas, founder of Citizens Against Phosphate Mining.
The Union County Commission called the meeting to hear from both sides in an effort to decide whether to impose a moratorium banning phosphate mining for one year in hopes of figuring out a way to ban the process all together.
Thomas said the phosphate mining’s negative affects are far reaching.
“It will impact not only our county, not only Bradford County, but all the counties in the surrounding area, including Alachua, including Columbia, anywhere that has a border with the Sante Fe River,” Thomas said.
HPSII of course claims the mine will be entirely of benefit with no downsides.
Here’s a pithy summary of concerns from Dave Wilson’s slide 28:
Opposition in Union County bore some fruit. Chris Curry, Gainesville.com, 18 April 2016, Union County mining moratorium approved. Bradford County has been more contentious. Melissa Ross, Florida Politics, 29 April 2016, Bradford County phosphate meeting blowup caught on video, snares VIP Steve Pieczenik. Last I heard, Bradford County had not approved a moratorium.
WWALS traditionally looks to Our Santa Fe River (OSFR) to take the lead opposing HPSII, because HPSII is in the watershed of the Santa Fe River. Our Santa Fe River, 17 June 2017, FIGHT THE MINE! SAVE THE RIVER!. Other groups directly involved include the Suwannee-St. Johns Group, Sierra Club Florida and its newly formed North Florida Working Group, SSJ Sierra Club.
OSFR in turn has partnered with Citizens Against Phosphate Mining (CAPM), the most directly involved group, featured in the above news story. CAPM has a facebook community, which posts current information including meetings to attend.
While many WWALS members have attended those meetings, I have not, because as mentioned HPSII is in the Santa Fe River watershed. However, I hear there are requests for more direct participation from Suwannee Riverkeeper, so I am contacting CAPM to see what sort of help they would like.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!