Mine expansion plan gets green light
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03/11/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

Hillsborough County Commissioners today approved the biggest change in mining boundaries in Hillsborough County in more than a decade.

The Mosaic Fertilizer phosphate company hopes to add more than 1,500 acres to its approximately 25 square mile mine near the four corners where Hillsborough, Polk, Hardee and Manatee counties meet.

There has been considerable opposition to the plan from residents and Tampa Bay Water, who wants the company to test for heavy metals at its new mining site.

Dee Allen is the permitting and reclamations superintendent with Mosaic Fertilizer. She spoke about the benefits the added acreage would provide in terms of energy to the community.

Only one citizen came out in support of Mosaic, but there were several members of the public who came out to denounce the expansion of the phosphate giant.

Lithia resident Kathy Surface said the Tampa Bay region already has problems with clean water – and especially with the 18-acre parcel near Hurrah Creek, which leads into the Alafia River.

Vivian Baca said local citizens have done a lot to help the bottom of line of Mosaic Fertlizer.

It hasn’t been just the local citizenry objecting to Mosaic’s expansion plans. Officials with Tampa Bay Water have said they want the company to test for heavy metals at new mining sites.

County Commissioners appeared largely unmoved by the citizens complaints.

Allen said the company promised it would address resident concerns. But that didn’t fully satisfy Commissioner Jim Norman, who said he wanted Mosaic to agree to quick resolutions to any problems regarding property owners.

The Commissioners voted 6-1 on both amendments, with Rose Ferlita the lone dissenter.

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