IS EXPANSION OF PHOSPHATE MINING IN HARDEE COUNTY A GOOD IDEA?

06/04/03

There are some twenty gypsum stacks distributed in Polk and Hillsborough counties and thousand upon thousands of acres of unreclaimed mines and "clay settling areas" related to phosphate operations. One former phosphate mine, the Teneroc mine south of Lakeland, is being considered as a possible Superfund clean-up site. But if the EPA designates the Teneroc site as a Superfund site, there is a problem: the EPA estimates that there are 20 more clean-up projects of equal magnitude in central Florida. Cleaning up all these sites could bankrupt the Superfund program. Now several more phosphate companies are applying for permits to mine another 100,000 acres in Hardee County alone, mostly in the Horse Creek basin, a tributary of the Peace River which provides drinking water to Charlotte and Sarasota Counties. Our guest Dennis Mader is with Hardee Citizens Against Pollution. He says phosphate mining is an environmental time-bomb that has the potential to bankrupt the state and destroy the hydrology of central Florida, yet it is permitted to proceed business as usual without so much as a slap on the wrist.

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