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Daily Archives: March 15, 2013
A recent invitation to county commissioners to offer comments or objections to one of two pending sand mining proposals being considered by state regulatory agencies expired weeks before commissioners even knew about it.
The offer was extended in a memorandum dated January 22 from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which asked for written comments concerning applicant E.R. Jahna Industries Inc. to be returned to DEP headquarters in Tallahassee within 30 days.
“This is your agency’s opportunity to provide comments on and/or to concur with or object to the proposed project,” stated the memo from DEP’s Mining and Mitigation Program office.
During a board meeting on March 5, county commissioners wanted to know why they had not heard about the memo, which listed County Manager C.J. Thompson as one of its intended recipients, until it was too late to respond.
“I got a copy (of the memo) yesterday from somebody in the audience,” Commissioner Adam Giddens said. “I don’t like that. We need to all be on the same page and know what’s going on.”
He said he immediately called the county manager’s office to inquire about the matter.
County deputies raided an operating meth lab on Clet Harvey Rd. in the south county the afternoon of March 10, acting on a tip from child protective investigator with the Department of Children and Families.
The arrest of Daniel Booth, 29, at his residence marked the second case involving methamphetamines in Baker County in a week.
Mr. Booth, along with girlfriend Kaylyn Adams, 27, were inside a shed near the suspect’s trailer home when deputies went to the property about 4:30 that afternoon.
Earlier they met up nearby with John Ring of Lake City, a DCF worker who received a hot line tip that the suspects were cooking meth at the location.
Mr. Booth emerged from the shed as officers approached, and Deputy Brandon Kiser said he located Ms. Adams attempting to hide in what was described as “a small wooded shed beside the residence.”
Inside, officers found an assortment of ingredients used to cook the drug, along with a weighing scale and plastic baggies commonly used to package the drug for sale.
Investigator Randy Crews, part of a regional federal task force, was summoned and inventoried the shed’s contents that included gas cans, brake cleaner, camping fuel, cold medicine and syringes.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has signaled its intent to issue a key permit to Oldcastle Southern Group, the Tampa-based company with plans to mine course sand from 264 acres in the southeastern county.
Last week FDEP notified the company as well as the county and other regulatory agencies of its intent to issue an environmental resource permit required for projects that impact surface water.
Oldcastle intends to mine using a floating dredge that moves over man-made lakes, which grow larger as more land is mined.
The notice of intent to issue the permit, which the company must publish in the newspaper, gives anyone with “substantial interests to be affected” by the permit 21 days from the publication date to petition for an administrative hearing.
The hearing could delay or halt final approval of the permit.