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Tag Archives: oldcastle

Opposite mining forces gird for a battle

Oldcastle Southern Group has been putting on a major public relations campaign to gain support for its sand mining plans in southeastern Baker County. But opponents of the proposal are working just as hard to convince county officials to kill the project.

The issue could be decided on July 16. The county commission has scheduled a hearing at 6 pm that day to consider Oldcastle’s request for a special zoning exception to allow sand mining for up to 50 years in an area zoned agriculture in the southeastern part of the county.

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Oldcastle strikes 50-year deal with city for ‘grey’ water

In its bid to obtain a permit to mine sand in southeastern Baker County where DuPont has been mining for decades, Tampa-based Oldcastle Southern Group picked up a key ally last week: the City of Macclenny.City commissioners unanimously approved a deal with Old Castle on June 11 that enables the company to use reclaimed water from the city’s sewage treatment plant in its operation instead of pumping millions of gallons of water from the aquifer.

“Through much negotiating we’ve put together a win-win for the city and for Oldcastle,” said City Manager Phil Rhoden after he presented the 11-page, 50-year contract to commissioners at the board’s monthly meeting.

Mr. Rhoden quickly added that the proposed partnership would be more helpful to Oldcastle than to the city since the company’s plans have drawn opposition from numerous local residents committed to halting any further mining in the county.

Further, he noted, the city has a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection allowing the discharge of treated wastewater into Turkey Creek and probably would be allowed to continue with that method of disposal for several years to come.

“But they (FDEP) are very much in favor of our entering into this contract if at all possible,” he said.

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Mining firm helps tidy up Little St. Mary’s park

Volunteers at last Saturday’s cleanup of Little St. Mary’s River Park on the north side of US 90 just west of Macclenny collected about a dozen trash bags of litter and another usual item — a vehicle seat found in the woods that surround the park.

The seat and a large tire were hauled off to the dump by Douglas Moore, a local landowner and proponent of Oldcastle Southern Group’s mining plans in the southeastern county.

The mining company sponsored the lunch that followed the morning cleanup on June 15. It was held in partnership with the county’s recently launched anti-litter program dubbed “Keep Baker Beautiful.”

The program offers cleanup supplies like vests and garbage bags to volunteers who wish to help keep areas of the county free of garbage and debris.

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Oldcastle on firm ground, Jahna not so much

The Baker County Commission will now turn its attention back to whether it should approve a special exception to allow sand mining southeast of Macclenny on a 437-acre tract off SR 228.

The proposal to permit Oldcastle Southern Group of Tampa was tabled last year pending issuance of permits by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, a process now complete. The state says it’s okay and the question now rebounds back to two local boards: the Land Planning Agency and the commission.

Thanks to some creative problem solving, the matter of drawing out water from the aquifer for the mining process is now mute. Oldcastle and the City of Macclenny last week entered into a half-century pact to pipe treated wastewater to the mining site.

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