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To the editor:
The Tarmac Mine “Approximately elevation 6-7 feet on Gulf side and 16-17 feet on east end” sits within the hurricane–surge reach and evacuation zone of a category 2 and higher storm. Fifty-Two major hurricanes or storms have directly impacted upon Levy County, an average of 3.21 storms per year from 1842 through 2009.
The danger lies in the probable displacement from storm surge of water borne quarry pit impurities and other mine related activities, affecting the coastal waters of the Gulf, Waccassassa Bay fishing and the Aquaculture of Cedar Key.
The documented 1842 hurricane hitting Cedar Key had a storm surge of 27 feet “seven feet taller then a two story building.” Do to the gulf coast’s shallow continental shelf. This is not a rare occurrence. Hurricane Ike 2008 “18 - 20ft.”, Katrina 2005 “25 -28ft.”, Opal 1995 24ft., Hugo 1989 19.8 ft., Camille 1969 “24ft”.
Surge vulnerability facts taken from the “National Hurricane Center” show that from 1990-2008 “Population density increased by 32 percent in gulf coastal counties. Much of the United States densely populated Atlantic and Gulf coast coastlines lie less then 10 feet above mean sea level “Ten feet.” Over half of the nation’s economic productivity is located within coastal zones, 72 percent of ports, 27 percent of major roads and 9 percent of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 feet.
Populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level.
A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67 percent of interstates, 57 percent of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area. According to the above figures supplied by the National Hurricane Center, Interstate Highway 19/98 in Levy County would have been inundated by the 1842 hurricane to a depth four feet greater then the 23 foot surge, model figure stated above by the National Hurricane Center. The Tarmac mine lies between Interstate Highway 19/98 and the Gulf of Mexico, less then 2 miles from gulf marshlands.
This giant industrial mine covering a 4000 acre pit “170 plus feet deep” in Gulf Hammock may create 35 to 52 jobs with a projected income for Levy County of $ 9.09 million but it can also cause the loss to Levy County taxpayers, amounting to $142,256,000 and 1,371 jobs.
This project is not worth the danger it poses to everything we hold dear, yet when I attempted to relate these facts to the Levy County Legislative Delegation Dec. 15, in Bronson, I was met with indifference by the legislative body.
Another example of facts being hidden from the tax paying public.
Noel K. Desmond