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Manatee County Florida denies phosphate industry permits

Manatee County Florida denies phosphate industry permits

Located on the Gulf of Mexico in West Central Florida, Manatee County is home to one of the largest ecosystems of its kind in the world. This area is one of the largest wetlands (2) in the region and forms the headwaters of the rivers in the region that supply about fifteen percent of the water flow in the Peace River Basin. This particular area of ​​Florida is used for fresh water reserves, livestock, agriculture, and newly populated residential neighborhoods. This ecologically critical area is full of pristine rivers, streams, springs, aquifers, ponds, and lakes. Both flora and fauna thrive in these unique ecological habitats, from abundant marine life to healthy populations of deer, possibly bears, and wild boar, along with a host of other wildlife.

However, the phosphate industry decided to purchase this land with the intent of depriving this area of ​​Central Florida, despite the industries poor record in conservation over the past seven decades. Strip mining will destroy and loot these areas in central Florida for the phosphates that lie just below the surface. All of the previously mentioned will be extinct in the mined strip areas. There will be no fresh water, no pastures for livestock, no agriculture, no marine life, no springs, no aquifers, no wild animals, no plants, no animals. The only thing left from Earth’s strip mining are radioactive materials, caustics, acids and a devastated landscape that looks more like a lunar landscape. The aforementioned abandoned mining toxins in the phosphate sector will be around for decades to come, or until Florida taxpayers pay for the cleanup. Phosphate sector mining does not have environmentally recoverable qualities. Historically, environmentally mistrustful, industry officials secretly dump millions of tons of toxic waste and base their business models on careful business practices.

This particular area of ​​central Florida is the area where the Florida phosphate industry decided to strip mines of valuable phosphate ore in the area. Phosphate industry officials have expressed confidence in the EPA and EPA in the ability to restore the land to support beneficial use after mining operations are over. Interestingly, the EPA issued permits, but Manatee County officials asked for more details about the project and strip mining is delayed for the time being. Each permit application by phosphate officials was denied on two occasions by Manatee County after the Environmental Protection Agency issued permits to begin mining. Manatee and Sarasota counties and countless small lawsuits against the phosphate industry continue to fight for the environmental health of Central Florida from phosphate devastation.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection stated that the plans submitted for strip mining did not provide accurate information, no evidence of financial liability, and no acceptable refund policy. (1) These particular items are important because historically the phosphate industry leaves all the environmental havoc it wreaks to taxpayers to cover the costs of cleanup. Manatee County denied the permits were denied and forced phosphate industry officials to go back to court. The State of Florida along with Manatee County will detain phosphate industry officials from the new Manatee County mining sector until all required reports are submitted for review and approval by the county. After all, the phosphate industry has already forced Manatee County taxpayers to cover the $144 million cost of removing an abandoned phosphate fertilizer plant near the Port of Manatee.

Manatee County is fighting a losing battle due to financial hardship (no federal dollars) with phosphate officials over new strip mining in the Miaka River watershed, which is also one of the largest in the state. 2,500 acres of watershed adjacent to existing mining in the Myakka watershed is where the eight-year environmental court battle will play out.

The Florida phosphate industry is a financial juggernaut that will not stop strip mining in Florida until it is financially disadvantageous to do so. Florida citizens can help the state’s environmentalists, too, with their votes and funding. Central Florida Environmental Resources such as the Manatee County Commission, Peace River Initiative, Sarasota County-Shelby Botanical Gardens, and Mansota-88 are local to the Central Florida region and receive donations to preserve Central Florida’s unique ecosystems.

1. Al-Tamman declaration.
2. Michael Gallen, Manatee County Commissioner | Sarasota Bay

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