JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (June 19, 2012) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Jacksonville District will host two public meetings this week, to discuss and receive comments on the Draft Area-wide Environmental Impact Statement (AEIS) for continued mining in the Central Florida Phosphate District (CFPD). The first meeting will be held this evening at the Lakeland Center, 701 West Lime Street, Lakeland, Fla. beginning at 6:30 p.m. An identical meeting will be held Thursday evening, June 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Charlotte Harbor Event Center, 75 Taylor Street, Punta Gorda, Fla. A brief presentation will be followed by an open house discussion format.
USACE has received four specific phosphate mining project permit applications – Ona, Desoto, Wingate East and South Pasture Extension. The Draft AEIS addresses direct and indirect impacts associated with these four mines as well as other mining projects that might be proposed within the reasonably forseeable future, in terms of their potential contribution to cumulative impacts within the CFPD and to downstream watershed areas.
“Our earlier public scoping process helped us to identify the primary areas of environmental concern to be addressed in this AEIS,” said John Fellows, project manager. “Those issues include the potential loss of wetland functions and services, the effect of proposed mining on groundwater and surface water quality and quantity and potential cumulative effects.
The AEIS is based on credible and defensible data and associated evaluations that use the best information possible during the defined timeframe,” Fellows added. “Public comments on the draft document will all be reviewed and incorporated into a final AEIS, which will help ensure a framework for effective, consistent and well-informed decisions on current and future phosphate mining permits.”
The Draft AEIS is available for review or download on the AEIS project website at http://www.phosphateaeis.org. The website also includes a list of public libraries where printed copies are available for review. Comments are welcome and must be submitted in writing by July 16, 2012 using the form on the website, sent by e-mail to email@example.com, or by mail or commercial delivery services to USACE at: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tampa Regulatory Office (ATTN: Draft AEIS Comments), 10117 Princess Palm Drive, Suite 120, Tampa, FL 33610. Questions concerning the Draft AEIS may be directed to John Fellows at 813-769-7067, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.