Nothing less than a historical victory for the Peace River Watershed was won last night! In an opening volley of what is sure to be an ongoing battle to preserve and protect the Peace River and its attendant watershed and nearby environs, the will of the people was honored.
On Tuesday, May 4th, during a public hearing before the DeSoto County Board of Adjustments and Planning, a diverse group of Floridians, including a courageous 16 year old boy, an implacable Octogenarian Matriarch, a nationally recognized economist and a local photographer, spoke out in ways simple and complex against the adoption of a General Phosphate Mining Overlay prepared by Mosaic that would have opened the door to eventual strip mining of approximately 26,000 +/- acres in the fragile ecosystem of the Pine Level/Big Slough watersheds.
The wonderful news is that the Board listened attentively enough to the numerous people that spoke against the amendment of the Future Land Use Map, that they voted 5-2 to deny initial transmittal of Mosaic’s request to the Department of Community Affairs!
This important decision will be at the center of further discussion when the DeSoto County Commissioners meet to consider the same proposal on May 25, 2010.
We the People of this region are the only voice the Peace River has. We have the power and the responsibility to halt the expansion of the ravages of phosphate strip mining that has made an uninhabitable “moonscape” of huge portions of Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee and portions of Hardee Counties.
It up to us to make sure that DeSoto County remains pristine and beautiful and that the unsound mining practices of the multinational conglomerate that is Mosaic, never, ever has the opportunity to creep into DeSoto county to wreak permanent environmental destruction on our River, creeks, farms and groves.
This, our collective and mutual, Home, is precious and unique in Florida. The Peace River is the lifeblood, the primary artery that feeds and sustains us all. Let us, each and everyone, whether a public servant or private steward be informed of all the facts available so as to make an informed choice of how our Peace River is sustained and protected for generations to come.
The preservation and protection of a time honored way of life is at stake. The proposed “mining overlay” that Mosaic has cobbled together with the help of DeSoto County staff, is nothing less than a death warrant for our way of life.
A coalition of several area citizen groups, including Protect Our Watersheds, Sierra Florida, ManaSota-88 and People for Protecting Peace River (3PR) submitted to DeSoto County a 7 page letter, along with a table of 11 Exhibits, that gives an excellent overview of concerns about the impacts of phosphate mining on our environment and on the health and well being of our communities.
Since these documents were submitted to become part of the public record they are available for your inspection. I urge every Citizen in the area to “Get the Real Story” of the permanent, irreversible destruction of our watershed that a “Phosphate Mining Overlay” would usher in.
You may also review this document and others that pertain to this critical issue on the People for Protecting Peace River website:
Please mark your calendars and tell everyone you know to join you at the next meeting of the DeSoto County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 25, 2010. Let our voices ring in the halls of our Elected officials: Tell them: We the People, don’t want phosphate strip mining in DeSoto County!
See you there!
Genny Lee Hendry