JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District announced today that it has completed and published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed King Road limestone mining activities in southern Levy County.
Under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Corps regulates the placement of dredged or fill materials into waters of the United States, including wetlands. The permit applicant, Tarmac America, LLC had proposed mining approximately 3,900 acres of a 4,800-acre area about 80 miles north of Tampa. The site is located in southwest Levy County, off King Road west of U.S. Route 19, approximately five miles north of the town of Inglis, Fla. Tarmac proposed to mitigate for impacts to approximately 2,000 acres of wetlands and 1,800 acres of uplands by restoring, enhancing and preserving adjacent wetland and upland areas.
The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a source of affordable construction-grade limestone aggregate, including aggregate that meets Florida Department of Transportation specifications for buildings and infrastructure. Aggregate is a construction material that can be used alone or mixed with other materials to make concrete and asphalt. The objectives of the King Road EIS were to evaluate existing environmental and socioeconomic conditions and potential future impacts associated with the proposed mining activities and to assess possible alternatives to mining at the proposed Levy County site.
The Corps conducted scoping in 2008 to determine potential areas for consideration during preparation of the EIS. Nearly 300 comments and a petition signed by about 1,000 Florida citizens were submitted. Primary concerns identified during scoping included potential impact of mining activities on water, sensitive habitat and wetlands. After release of the Draft EIS, a 60-day public comment period and a public hearing held in May 2012 yielded an additional 225 comments from the public as well as federal and state agencies. The meeting transcript and the full text of each comment and the Corps’ response is included in an appendix of the EIS.
The EIS provides an analysis of potentially significant impacts in various categories, including surface water, groundwater, wetlands and vegetation, noise, cultural resources and recreation as well as an Alternatives Analysis to identify and evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives that could potentially meet the stated purpose and need for the project. Off-site alternatives include shipping aggregate into Florida harbors and/or rail terminals and mining in other locations in west-central Florida. On-site alternatives evaluated include the “No Action Alternative,” which would permit no mining in wetlands within the Tarmac King Road Limestone Mine site, the full mine-out plan (100 years of mining) and limiting mining in environmentally sensitive areas. The Corps has not yet identified a Preferred Alternative.
A Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register and the full EIS will be available at www.kingroadeis.com Friday, Aug. 16.
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