Ichetucknee cement plant: up the pressure
Ryan Brouillard
April 2001

The movement to save Florida's cleanest river continues as the Ichetucknee Coalition keeps the pressure on state officials and Suwannee American Cement Co.

After two years of protesting the construction of Suwannee American Co's cement kiln, which was permitted by Suwannee County and the Department of Environmental Protection, the urgency for a major display of public disapproval is now essential.

Legal teams and conservation groups are working on four separate lawsuits, involving improper land use, excessive mercury limits and illegal deals made between the S.A. Co. and state officials. The first verdict came from the case citing improper permitting of industry in an agricultural zone, which was denied by the First District Court of Appeals. Attorney Bill Ogle has decided to bring the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

In this time there has also been tremendous grassroots organizing with direct actions, public protests, rallies and marches. All of the methods used thus far to protest are all exceptional. No community should have to do so much, but because of it, a large portion of our community now has knowledge of Suwannee American's plan to endanger the precious Florida aquifer and sacred Ichetucknee River. Still, it is evident that more must be done to convince the state that the industrial effects will be negative, and a major portion of the citizens disapprove. This problem will not go away, and the more polluters go unchallenged, the more they will destroy. Collectively we may be able to study all the aspects involved to find the weak link that will stop the construction and deny S.A. Co. the right to pollute. We need to be more adamant about refusing the jeopardization of this river. Join the movement for clean air and water.

There will be a protest at the Suwannee County Court House in Live Oak on Tuesday, April 10, to make sure S.A. Co. is not given tax breaks. (A huge tax break was defeated as we go to press--ed.) And on Tuesday, April 17 there will be a joint protest in Tallahassee with Florida Coalition for Peace and Justice, for the removal of the military bombing range in the Ocala National Forest, and the Ichetucknee Coalition demanding that that the state revoke the cement kiln's permits. Come support these important issues. As Edward Abbey said, "Wilderness needs no defense, only more defenders."

Ichetucknee Mobilization is distributing copies of "Danger Down Wind," a video documenting the devastating effects of the cement industry in Midlothian Texas. If you or your community group is interested in getting a copy or setting a up a showing, contact ichmobile@hotmail.com .

Remember, this is not a done deal! No compromise in defense of the Ichetucknee River! Check out www.metanet.org/im and www.ichetucknee.org for more information or call 495-3415.

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