Florida House backs plan to use phosphogypsum in road construction

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Phosphogypsum stack in West-Central Florida. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (2010).

The House on Wednesday passed a bill that would clear the way for demonstration projects about using phosphogypsum, a byproduct of the phosphate industry, in building roads.

House members voted 81-25 to approve the bill (HB 1191), sponsored by Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-Dover.

The issue has drawn attention, at least in part, because phosphogypsum includes radioactive elements. It is stored in huge stacks.

The bill would allow the Department of Transportation to move forward with demonstration projects that would include phosphogypsum in aggregate materials in road construction.

Opponents pointed to potential hazards from using phosphogypsum, with Rep. Anna Eskamani, D-Orlando, saying lawmakers shouldn’t support “radioactive roads.”

But McClure said the bill wouldn’t change such things as water quality or worker-safety standards.

“It asks us to contemplate what we can do with this material in a more responsible manner,” he said.

An identical bill (SB 1258) has been approved by Senate committees.

©2023 The News Service of Florida

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