The Bradford County commissioners met at their regular time on Thursday March 15. The mine was not on the agenda, but two people spoke against the mine, reminding the leaders of that county that the mine would bring danger and likely, disaster to their rural way of life.
Kate Ellison is consistent and does not let the commissioners forget their responsibility to the people of Bradford County. Thanks to Kate for speaking up and also to Jill McGuire whose presence also gave support.
Your historian also spoke and pointed out the lack of protection we can expect from our environmental agencies.
Parts of the following is based on a document from ManaSota 88, an environmental group in Manatee Co.
More than once I have heard intelligent, educated people say that they don’t worry about mining because the Department of Environmental Protection would never give permits for unsafe practices. I can assure you they will.
This was blatantly obvious in July of 2016 when the DEP loosened restrictions on many poisons in our drinking water, allowing much greater quantities in order for industry to make more money. An increase in human deaths from cancer was considered acceptable collateral damage. Here the DEP clearly put money over human health.
The DEP allowed Pilgrim’s Pride near Live Oak to exceed its permitted effluent discharge into the Suwannee River for some 30 years, until Sierra Club recently won a $1.3 million lawsuit and stopped it. DEP should have been sued also and made to pay.
Few people fully realize the actual public health and environmental impact the phosphate industry has on Florida.
According to the EPA Explorer Toxic Release Inventory data, the Total Releases for Mosaic Fertilizer operations in Florida in 2015, were 4,923,619 lbs. of reported toxins. These poisons that are contaminating Florida’s air and aquifer include acids, radionuclides, arsenic, and other cancer-causing constituents.
The massive sinkhole that recently opened at the Mosaic Co. New Wales facility in Mulberry, Florida, leaking at least 215 million gallons of radioactive water, clearly demonstrates the DEP is not doing enough to protect Florida’s groundwater supplies. DEP kept the secret of the leak for nearly three weeks, until caught by TV reporters. They never apologized, but only said they followed the letter of the law. Polluters and permitters alike say this, as if that were all that is required. What about ethics? What about human health? DEP’s letter of the law does not protect our health nor our aquifer.
If protection of the public had been the paramount concern of the state, the extensive contamination of our groundwater that has been permitted to take place could have been avoided. Now, it is likely impossible to correct.
Again, the State of Florida has permitted the phosphate industry to pollute the Floridan aquifer, which is the drinking water supply of 92% of all Floridians.
Are we sure this is the kind of industry we want to bring to Bradford County?