Would like answers

Dear Editor;

Why do county “responses” always lead to even more questions?

At the Feb. 7 BOCC meeting, I confronted the commissioners to provide an explanation for the misinformation they, and the public, have been told by the county attorney regarding the phosphate mining plan. We were told our consultants have been waiting more than two years for a response from HPSII to a Request for Additional Information (RAI) from hydrologist Schreuder that was “not reduced to writing.” In frustration at trying to find out the contents of the undocumented request, I took it upon myself to write to Schreuder, who promptly confirmed he finished his review in January 2020 and is not waiting for anything. The public deserves truth and it shouldn’t have to be me that provides it.

As a follow up to my comments, the Bradford Telegraph ran an article entitled “Why Are We Waiting?” that offered County Attorney Sexton a chance to clear the air. Unfortunately, it got more cloudy instead.

What Mr. Sexton offered are typically vague responses. He said the BOCC will be updated “in due

course.” It’s been six years of waiting for HPS to prove their concept and two years of misinformation. I’d say “due course” has long ago become overdue! Why is the BOCC not demanding REAL answers?

I used to work for lawyers and I am familiar with the language of “lawyer speak” that’s uses a lot of words that avoid facts. Mr. Sexton said staff has been working closely with “our” consultants, OEC, and with HPS “to ensure that the review of the materials… is thorough and complete.”

If that’s true, why am I the one to find out that Schreuder did NOT ask for more info and he’s now retired? Why, in March 2021, did OEC’s Hoyle and HPS’ lawyer Riley both tell Mr. Sexton they are

waiting for HPS to answer Schreuder’s questions? That doesn’t sound like close communication. Did OEC fail to communicate with their own subcontractor? Or did they know but chose not to divulge?

Mr. Sexton said he wasn’t in communication with the hydrologist and so couldn’t “shed any more light on what [Schreuder] may have represented to Ms. Mosley, which led to her comments at this morning’s meeting.” I notified the BOCC long before the meeting on the 7th, so Sexton could have contacted Schreuder himself to get a reality check if so desired. Schreuder answered me within days. If the county attorney, the contractor OEC, and the attorney for HPS have all been in the dark for two years, I would call that negligence rather than diligence, and no county commissioner took steps to make it right. They allowed public deception to continue despite my warnings of anomalies.

I fear our county could eventually find itself in a lawsuit with HPSII, which is suing Union County for hundreds of millions of dollars, if the BOCC are not careful. The last MMP submitted by HPS said they are ready for the hearing. There are laws that do not seem to be important to the county to follow, such as 125.022 which sets parameters for development orders. Or, F.S.119.0701, requiring records request information to be included in the contract compiled by OEC.

It is time to put this plan to rest. Does HPSII have a viable plan ready for review or was their submission six years ago premature, and intended as a place holder to keep the county from enacting a mining moratorium, rather than a plan ready to enact?

Only information presented at the hearing can be considered by the BOCC. All applicants naturally present their case in the most favorable light because their goal is a yes vote. The public counts on the commissioners performing due diligence so they know what questions to ask of the applicant. We need our BOCC to operate with eyes wide open so they can’t continue to be kept in the dark.

Carol Mosley

Good Wins Out

I never thought I could wear a mask into a bank and not be arrested

but my understanding of the world is now being tested

I must prove that I’ve had my shot

there are consequences if I have not

there are places I can go

there are places I’m told no

it’s hard for me to sleep at night

I no longer know what is right

but I’ll see if I can bring

an end to this awful thing

by doing the best I can

to somehow help my fellow man

and if I can lead the way

toward a new and better day

by doing the things that I should

helping others and doing good

and yes we know with each new case

it is something we must face

but be prepared to give a shout

‘cause end the end good wins out

By: Milt Starnes

 February, 2022

Read Then Heed

Nothing ever remains the same

now there’s war in Ukraine

everyone says not our fault

we did what we ought

the whole world is filled with greed

with little understanding of the need

there’s got to be a way to score

short of starting a new war

but the leaders seem to balk

rather than sit and talk

this is not a one sum game

all our goals are just the same

we don’t need to fill just one cup

it’s better to raise all up

when you have some give and take

then it’s progress that you make