Interim Use: cemex construction Materials Florida is seeking to change the comprehensive land use plan for 738 acres on Cortez Boulevard from agricultural to mining and commercial to use the property over the next 20 years for open pit industrial lime rock

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Pending Issues: CEMEX mine near Brooksville

Interim Use: CEMEX Construction Materials Florida is seeking to change the comprehensive land use plan for 738 acres on Cortez Boulevard from agricultural to mining and commercial to use the property over the next 20 years for open pit industrial lime rock mining. They are asking the county to consider this an interim use.  20 years is too long to endure mining as an “interim use” with the hope that something good may come of the site thereafter. 

Reclamation: Reclamation is a false hope if we look at all the other sites around Hernando where CEMEX has mined and left the area blighted. The CEMEX South Brooksville plant is an abandoned eyesore and has become a blighted area, just one of several past mining sites in Hernando. We have seen no lease agreement so we don’t know who is responsible for the reclamation. These owners or their heirs?? Or Cemex???

Residential impacts: The mining activities will damage adjacent residential properties home to 150 people. Damage may include cracks in homes, sinkholes from the percussion of the blasts and contamination of local fresh water wells.  It will degrade quality of life from the perpetual noise and beeping of equipment that will be heard. 

Proximity to Brooksville: The blasts will be heard in nearby downtown Brooksville, the county seat home to over 7100 residents, over the next 20 years. The chronic carcinogenic silica dust is downwind of the town. This is in the wrong location on the main business corridor into Brooksville and should not be sited so close to so many people. Over 500 residents have signed petitions opposing this.

African American Spring Hill Cemetery: It will damage the historic African American Spring Hill Cemetery located within this parcel of land and disturb visitors to the cemetery. A buffer of just 250’ is proposed at this currently operating cemetery where visitors come to honor their dead that include many veterans and seven generations of Brooksville pioneeer; this is too close. The blasting will damage the vaults. Excavation down 45 feet is planned on two sides of the cemetery which will create a steep incline and erode the land around it. .

Property Values Reduced: This project will reduce property values for over 50 homes and is incompatible on Cortez Boulevard, the business corridor leading into Brooksville, with over 50 businesses in the immediate area that hope this business-zoned area will grow. The plan to create berms are an ecological abomination.

Hydrogeology: According to the Southwest Florida Water Management District map, this parcel is located within the Peck Sink Watershed–a fragile karst system. Hydrogeologists tell us that this Special Protected Area is vulnerable to groundwater contamination from blasting and excavation of a steep incline from north to south that once removed by mining, could cause sinkhole activity and lower the water table--compromising fresh water wells of residents in the area and generating flooding that would degrade water quality in Peck Sink.

Hospital Pollution: The community is concerned with patient and staff exposure to the air pollution and possible interruption of delicate equipment and operations at Bayfront Health Hospital located directly across the street. CEMEX proposes a 20-year industrial mine that would generate chronic air pollution from silica dust–a known carcinogen.  It is too close to the hospital and historic Brooksville.

Habitat Loss/Endangered Species: This new mine application would allow removal of a large tract of wild forest that is highly rated as a strategic conservation area that is prime wildlife habitat for endangered wood storks, threatened species such as bald eagles, Florida Black Bear, gopher tortoises and other species of special concern.  CEMEX doesn’t think they should have to mitigate for this loss.

Canopy Road Conveyor Belt: The northern border along Fort Dade Avenue has been designated a protected canopy road by the County’s Canopy Road Ordinance. CEMEX proposes to build a conveyor belt over the canopy road to transport the lime rock from the new mine to an existing mine north of that road. The canopy would be damaged and the view turned from beautiful to industrial. Why should the county grant an easement to do this? Plus we have no written description or details on this fiasco.

Cement Plant Pollution: CEMEX was cited by the EPA for mercury and dioxin emissions at its cement plant further north of this site which will receive and process all the lime rock from this new mine if approved. It is the 5th dirtiest coal plant in Florida according to the NAACP.  Why extend the life of this obsolete coal-burning plant that creates

pollution that threatens the health of everyone in the area?

No demonstrated need at this location at this time. There is no driving need for more mining in Hernando. CEMEX has other mining sites in the county and one location that is a future mining site. The annual county mining report indicated that at one site, mining has ceased to sell off existing stockpiles.  CEMEX has other sites where they can mine. This is a bad location—too close to too many people in Brooksville, surrounding residents, and fronting the business corridor into town.

No new jobs for 20 years. Benefits only 5 property owners and CEMEX, a foreign corporation that will lease the land for a 20 year, highly extractive purpose without generating one new job, while congesting our roads with heavy trucks, destroying native habitat and discharging dust that fills the air with pollutants.

Hernando’s Economic Future: Our community is at a crossroads. Mining at this location will deter environmentally-sustainable growth that the City of Brooksville and Hernando County desperately needs. Nature tourism is a far better way to build a strong economic future but mining will diminish it and reduce the potential of other economic opportunities.  You can’t have it both ways; tourists are not drawn to a mining town. Plus it will reduce tax revenues for Hernando County for 20 years when we could be building a strong economy. And it will not create one new job for 20 years. There are better uses for this land. What is wrong with the current residential and commercial zoning?

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