Stop New Phosphate Strip Mining

Sandra Ripberger
Sandra Ripberger 279 Comments
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We urge our public officials to deny new permits for phosphate mining that will severely impact Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, DeSoto, Hamilton, Union and Bradford counties.

Florida's largest mining company plans to strip mine more than 52,000 acres of native habitat and agricultural land in the Myakka and Peace River watersheds, destroying 10,000 acres of wetlands and 49 miles of streams, leaving moonscapes and wastelands.

Phosphate strip mining is the worst environmental disaster in the history of the State of Florida, with mines covering close to ½ million acres of natural and agricultural lands. The sinkhole at the Mulberry gypstack is contaminating our aquifer.

Phosphate mining has no public benefit and is detrimental to the public interest. Here’s why:

  • Mining is permitted to withdraw a yearly average of 69 million gallons of groundwater a day. This massive water use jeopardizes our future water supply and also deprives wetlands, streams and rivers of water.
  • Strip mining permanently destroys thousands of acres of native ecosystems – wetlands, forests, streams and critical habitat for endangered and threatened plants and animals, resulting in a loss of genetic diversity.
  • Reclamation is a myth. The land is never restored to its pre-mining condition.
  • Slime ponds ("clay settling areas") will permanently cover approximately 40% of an average mine site and are useless after mining.
  • Hazardous waste created by mining goes into radioactive gypstacks that can be 200 feet high and will be here forever. There are 25 gypstacks in Florida. Approximately 30 million tons of new waste are produced each year. These are the largest repository of hazardous waste in the nation.
  • Mined lands have elevated levels of radioactivity causing negative health effects.
  • Short-term mining jobs displace long-term agricultural and ranch jobs that will not return.
  • The industry has a long history of contaminated waste and acidic water overflows and spills into waterways, soils, rivers, and bays. The Mulberry sinkhole is the latest disaster.
  • We do not need mined phosphate rock to feed the world. Alternatives are as productive and have been used successfully to produce food crops.

Watch this four-minute film that shows the real face of phosphate mining: www.youtube.com/watch?v=spzER-HYeKw

Discover beneficial alternatives to chemical fertilizer:

http://rodaleinstitute.org/assets/WhitePaper.pdf

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