Senator Manny Diaz files blasting bill; Town plans capitol bus trip

Thursday, April 4, 2019 0 Comments

Relief for Miami Lakes and nearby residents whose homes have been allegedly damaged by blasting could be on the way.
Florida Senator Manny Diaz Jr. announced he filed Senate Bill 1356, proposed legislation to stop the effects of the rock mining industry’s blasting that plagues his district causing property damages and lowering the quality of life for his constituents.
State Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez has filed a companion bill in the House.
“For far too long, residents have felt frustrated and helpless over this ongoing problem,” said Diaz. “People enduring the noise levels, their houses shaking and damages to their property is simply unacceptable. This issue is a top priority and I appreciate the support from my colleagues in both the House and Senate as well as from the leadership of both chambers. I believe that, working together, we can make real headway toward resolving this issue for the affected neighborhoods.”
Diaz and Rodriguez’s bills are proposing to lower blasting intensity, move the blasting zones away from residential areas, and create a fund for repayment of blasting damages. It will also ensure transparency for blasting levels and schedules going forward. The blasts impact communities near Miami Lakes, Palm Springs North, Miramar and Southwest Ranches in Broward County.
As a state representative, Diaz worked on the issue, filling legislation to conduct a new study of how the blasts affect residential areas which have changed significantly since the last study in 2000. The bill was vetoed.
“I believe we have real traction now,” said Diaz. “I plan to keep pushing ahead to give relief to residents who have been suffering for far too long.”
When no solution was in sight, Miami Lakes created a blasting advisory committee which made recommendations to control the blasting and seeking to add them to Diaz’s bill.
The Town Council adopted the recommendations that included placing mining monitoring devices in multiple sites throughout the town, reduce the legal limit of energy waves created by blasting to 7inches/second, transfer the authority from the state’s Fire Marshall office to local municipalities within the five areas of the state and ask the state to extend the statutes of limitation to 36 months.
The committee also recommended to expand homeowners insurance coverage to include damages caused by the blasting.
Though Diaz’s bill doesn’t included blasting insurance coverage, a bill filed by State Representative Cindy Polo and Senator Oscar Braynon does. House Bill 1011 and Senate Bill 1288 would require insurance companies to provide man-made explosion coverage.
“For years, the residents impacted by mine blasting in my district have been ignored and dismissed,” Polo said. “While this is a complicated issue, this legislation provides an alternative to protect what is, for most families, their most important invent.”
Some residents reportedly spent thousands of dollars on repairs and were never reimbursed by the rock miners though an independent inspection claim they filed for the damages.
Most residents said the claim process was not fair since the inspectors were hired by the rock miners, as they served as both judge and jury on their claims.
In support of Diaz and Rodriguez’s bills, Miami Lakes is planning a long bus trip to Tallahassee where the town’s elected voices and residents will ask state lawmakers to save their homes from further damages allegedly caused by blasting.
The town organized the bus trip to meet with the chairpersons of the House and Senate committees who oversee rock mining legislation.
“There are over 40 senators and 120 state representatives that can help us advocate and educate legislators throughout Florida so we can remedy the impact of rock mining in our community,” said Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid.
The bus will depart Miami Lakes Town Hall, 6601 Main Street, at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9, and is scheduled to arrive in the State Capitol around 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The bus is slated to return on Thursday, April 11 at 3 a.m.

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