DCT responds in Opposition

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JACKSONVILLE DIVISION
SIERRA CLUB, INC.; PEOPLE FOR
PROTECTING THE PEACE RIVER, INC.;
and MANASOTA-88, INC.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF
ENGINEERS; and COLONEL ALFRED A.
PANTANO, JR.,
Defendants,
and
MOSAIC FERTILIZER, LLC,
Defendant-Intervenor.
)
)
)
Case No.
3:10-cv-00564-HLA-JBT
PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO INTERVENING DEFENDANT,
MOSAIC FERTILIZER, LLC’S MOTION FOR LIMITED STAY OF
PRELIMINARY INJUCTION PENDING APPEAL

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Legal: Williams declaration

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JACKSONVILLE DIVISION
SIERRA CLUB, INC.; PEOPLE FOR
PROTECTING THE PEACE RIVER,
INC.; and MANASOTA-88, INC.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF
ENGINEERS; and COLONEL ALFRED
A. PANTANO, JR.,
Defendants,
and
MOSAIC FERTILIZER, LLC,
Defendant-Intervenor.
)
)
)
Case No. 3:10-cv-00564-HLA-JBT
DECLARATION OF AMBER E. WILLIAMS

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Legal: Winchester 2nd declaration

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
JACKSONVILLE DIVISION
SIERRA CLUB, INC.; PEOPLE FOR PROTECTING
PEACE RIVER, INC;, and, MANASOTA—88, INC.
Plaintiffs,
v. Case No.: 3:10-cv-00564-HLA-JBT
UNITED STATES ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS;
and COLONEL ALFRED A. PANTANO, JR.,
Commanding District Engineer, U.S. Army Corps
of Engineers, Jacksonville District,
Defendant.
__________________________________________________
SECOND DECLARATION OF BRIAN H. WINCHESTER

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The Mosaic Company Reports Strong Fiscal Year 2010 Fourth Quarter Earnings Growth

Page 1/13 8/26/2010
The Mosaic Company Reports Strong Fiscal Year 2010 Fourth Quarter Earnings Growth
July 22, 2010 4:21 PM ET
PLYMOUTH, Minn., July 22, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

The Mosaic Company (NYSE: MOS) announced today net earnings of $396.1 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2010. These results compare with net earnings of $146.9 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2009.

KEY ITEMS
Total phosphate sales volumes were 2.3 million tonnes and the average diammonium phosphate (DAP) selling pricewas $438 per tonne Potash sales volumes rebounded from 0.6 million tonnes a year ago to 1.8 million tonnes and the average muriate of potash (MOP) selling price was $336 per tonne
Gross margin as a percent of net sales improved to 37 percent, compared to 13 percent in the prior year. Foreign currency transaction losses were $0.6 million versus losses of $297.9 million, or $0.42 per share last year Income tax expense was $138.8 million compared to a benefit of $330.3 million a year ago Cash flow from operating activities was $532.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 an improvement of $226.3 million from the prior year

The Company maintained a strong financial position with cash and cash equivalents of $2.5 billion as of May 31, 2010 A recently issued permit for an extension of Mosaic’s South Fort Meade phosphate rock mine is being challenged in Federal court. If a preliminary injunction requested by the plaintiffs is granted, the Company’s phosphate operations could be impacted Mosaic had net sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 of $1.9 billion, an increase from $1.6 billion, or 17 percent, compared to the same period last year. Mosaic’s gross margin for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was $687.6 million, or 37 percent of net sales, compared with $204.1 million, or 13 percent of net sales, a year ago. Fourth quarter operating earnings were $547.6 million, an improvement of $421.3 million over the prior year. The increases in gross margin and operating earnings were primarily due to improved phosphates selling prices, lower sulfur costs and increased potash sales volumes, partially offset by lower potash selling prices. “We are pleased with our strong fourth quarter results,” said Jim Prokopanko, Mosaic’s President, and Chief Executive Officer. “Crop nutrient application rates and shipments have snapped back from last year’s levels and a strong recovery in both the phosphates and potash markets is underway.”

Phosphates
Net sales in the Phosphates segment were $1.2 billion for the fourth quarter, comparable to the prior year. Phosphates’ fourth quarter gross margin was $306.6 million, or 26 percent of net sales, compared with a loss of $31.9 million for the same period a year ago. Operating earnings were $221.1 million, an increase of $300.3 million over the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, primarily due to higher selling prices and lower sulfur costs. In addition, fiscal 2009 fourth quarter results included a $61.4 million inventory lower of cost or market write-down. The average fourth quarter DAP selling price, FOB plant, was $438 per tonne, compared to $365 a year ago and $336 in the
third quarter of fiscal 2010. Phosphates segment total sales volumes were 2.3 million tonnes, compared to 2.5 million tons a year ago. Declines in International and Blend crop nutrient volumes from the year-ago quarter were partially offset by an increase in North American crop nutrient demand. Mosaic’s North American phosphate production was 1.9 million tonnes compared with 2.0 million tons a year ago.

3PR News: China, India, Saudi Arabia, Syria Enter Phosphate Market – Prices go UP!

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10882248/1/rising-grain-futures-push-phosphate-prices.html

By Leia Michele Toovey- Exclusive to Potash Investing News

Concerns about adverse weather in western Canada and Russia are sending grain futures on a rally. This is good news for diammonium phosphate and other phosphate based fertilizer prices. Since June, rising grain prices have propelled the price for the crop nutrient to new highs, with phosphate prices averaging $431 over the past quarter, 55 percent more than the previous year-on-year period. Diammonium phosphate, for immediately delivery, has increased 66 percent this year. Increasing demand, combined with declining stockpiles has prompted China to mull export restrictions in order to protect their much needed domestic supply. Record breaking shipments over the summer have caused a dramatic decline in China’s domestic inventories. “Government officials are increasingly concerned about the availability of phosphate products for domestic farmers and are closely monitoring the situation,” said Mike Rahm, Mosaic’s Chief Marketing Strategist. “We believe officials will take whatever measures are necessary, including more restrictive export policies, to ensure adequate supplies of competitively priced phosphate for domestic farmers.” Demand for fertilizers will grow over the next 40 years as a larger and increasingly wealthy world population consumes more meat and eggs, said David Dawe, a senior economist with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Food and energy prices increasingly will be linked with potentially high fuel costs, spurring fertilizer use as farmers seek greater efficiency. Agricultural output will need to rise faster than the supply of arable land, forcing farmers to seek greater crop yields, he added.

Credit Suisse lifted its forecast for both nitrogen and phosphate prices over the next two years following the rise in crop prices. Projections for prices for potash, the other of the big three nutrients, were kept at previous levels, foreseeing a gentle rise through 2011 and 2012. However, while even Credit Suisse’s upgraded hopes for phosphate implied a decline in prices from current levels of $525 to 550 a tonne, its outlook for nitrogen implied continued gains.

Output Expansion
Saudi Arabian Mining Co, the state-run producer, may double phosphates output at a venture it’s developing with Saudi Basic Industries Corp, the world’s largest petrochemicals maker. The partners plan to bring a 2.9 million tonnes a year diammonium phosphate plant at Ras al Zour on the Arabian Gulf coast into operation early next year, according to Khaled Al Mudaifer, vice president for phosphates at Saudi Arabian Mining. The partners will initially market ammonia produced at the $5.5 billion facility before eventually using the feedstock to produce twice the amount of diammonium phosphate. Saudi Arabia is looking to expand fertilize production in order to meet rising food demand. Saudi Arabia will be able to produce about 18 percent of the world’s diammonium phosphate once the Ras al-Zour plant is complete, Saudi Basic’s Al Sheaibi said yesterday. Saudi Basic, known as Sabic, will market most products from the plant for its first five years. Ma’aden will own a 70 percent stake in the Ras al Zour plant with Sabic holding the rest. Ma’aden will supply minerals from the kingdom’s interior.

Syria and India have signed a memo of understanding to develop the fertilizer industry in Syria in order to produce phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizers to cover the needs of both the Syrian and the Indian markets. According to the memo, the two sides will promote multi-benefit projects according to their feasibility study. The two sides also agreed on signing an executive program to produce phosphoric acid and phosphate fertilizers in Syria. They also agreed on establishing factories for producing phosphoric acid in Syria with the possibility of selling the surplus to the Indian side at global price. The Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Sufian Allao pointed out that the memo aims at increasing the amount of the produced phosphate in Syria to reach 10 million tons per year, saying “the production is currently at 4 million tonnes. Syria has large reserves of phosphate, about 1.8 billion tonnes, the reserves amount can also be increased with intensified exploration operations.” The cost of the project is estimated at US$15 million, funded by the Indian company Zuari, which is in charge of the project.

Manatee Wants Mosaic Bribe

 Planning Commission Unanimously Approves Duette Fire Facility and Community Park despite Possibility of Health Hazards

Published Friday, August 13, 2010 3:00 am

by Merab-Michal Favorite

 PALMETTO — Mosaic Fertilizer is donating a fire station and community park in Duette to Manatee County as part of their land post-mining stabilization requirement for the four corners phosphate excavation. While the intentions of the company are good – the decision is not without health risks.

The community park will contain a baseball and soccer field, a 19 acre lake (left over from the mining project), a boat ramp and dock, restroom facilities, picnic and parking areas, irrigation for the fields and a center for environmental education.

The reclamation parcel topography will be returned to the approximate pre-mining state. Re-vegetation will be planted around the site with a one-mile hiking trail around the lake.

“This is a reclamation that is compatible with recreation,” said Dee Allen, permitting super attendant of the project.

Mary Sheppard of the county planning commission pulled the item for discussion to clarify any possible threats and get more information as to what was going into the recreational lake.

 “I remember the last time we had a piece of land after reclamation and we found that the wells and septic tanks could be detrimental to human health,” she said.

The facilities will run off a well and septic tank. The concern is that mines can cause water contamination in many ways. The first is whether the radioactive elements can get into water supplies, be released to the air, absorbed into the skin or accumulated in fish or animals. Heavy metals can have adverse effects on humans and too much phosphate can cause health problems, such as kidney damage and osteoporosis according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The second concern is what happens when the radioactive particles, such as radium and thorium, are concentrated in the clay settling ponds.

High phosphate contents in lakes are initially a good asset. They increase productivity of fish population and overall biological diversity of the system. But, over time, a build-up of phosphate in the lake or surface water ecosystem will accelerate the aging process. This overproduction of the water body can lead to an imbalance and result in out of control algae blooms that have a detrimental effect on wildlife according to a study by Wilkes University.

Fish in phosphate reservoirs do not have heightened heath risk according to a study by the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research but bass contained the uppermost mercury levels.

There is a radiation unease for all buildings on the site. While radiation is a natural part of the environment, it is more concentrated near ore deposits underground. When mining takes place it stirs the layers together and it is separated becoming more intense in the remaining rock deposits. It can become a health risk. Humans can inhale it where it remains in the lungs or gets transferred in the blood stream to bones where it continues to emit radiation.

Homes built in mining areas had heightened radiation levels in a statewide study conducted by GEOMET Technology Inc. The result was a mandate for construction techniques to be developed that resist entry of radon gas into homes – Mosaic assured the commission they would implement these procedures.

“Radon barriers have been incorporated in the plans,” said Dee Allen. “The fire department building will be built with radiation protection techniques.”

The plans have been overseen by the county’s natural resource department. They feel that Mosaic has met all requirements and “will not adversely affect the health, safety or welfare of the neighborhood or the county as a whole.”

“The site has had a significant level of monitoring and it is very safe for public use,” said Dee Allen.

Mosaic Closing Exposes Flaw in the System

Published Sunday, September 5, 2010 3:00 am
Previously published on http://www.thebradentontimes.com.

by Dennis Maley

There are many drawbacks to a weak economy rife with unemployment. For those struggling to find work, they are of course obvious. We live in a market-based economy that relies on ever increasing consumption, so whenever unemployment rises and spending decreases, the economy tends to contract, often leading to further cutbacks in employment and reduced consumer confidence because of anxiety over whether any of our jobs are safe. It is indeed a vicious cycle.

One ancillary drawback that is rarely considered is our increased openness to short-sided and even dangerous sources of employment during the worst economic times. Our current economy has created multiple examples of conflict that has arisen as a result of people being much more sensitive to any policy, no matter how sound, that may lead to a loss of employment.

When fertilizer giant Mosaic lost a recent judgment denying its expansion in South Fort Meade, they announced the closing of the mine and told 140 people in an already hard-hit area not to come to work the next day. Obviously, there were many hard feelings among people who lost their livelihood for the greater good of the community.

Phosphate mining is nasty business. It has become a necessary component to modern industrial agriculture and our current food supply could not be maintained without it, but over-mining poses serious risks to any nearby community. Mosaic mines 30% of its phosphate from the Fort Meade operation, yet said it was not “cost effective” to continue operations there if they couldn’t expand in South Fort Meade.

The corporation posted $400 million in profits during the final quarter of last year, noting that phosphate margins were up significantly. In all likelihood, they could have continued to operate while making a tidy profit, but that is not what capitalism is about. There is more profit to be found somewhere else and that is their obligation to their stockholders, so they will move.

This is a difficult reality that is intrinsic to capitalism. In theory, that money is invested somewhere else in our economy where that greater profit can be made. Jobs are created to replace those lost, the increased wealth flows through the channels, trickles down via increased consumption, and our economy grows stronger as a result. But for those who are out of a paycheck now, that is of little comfort.

The backlash is almost always directed toward the government bodies that enforce important environmental and safety regulations, rather than the companies who seek to skirt them or move off to someplace less concerned about the welfare of their citizens. So then, what is the solution? Perhaps we should create laws that prevent companies from abandoning such operations when they are still profitable, just to move them someplace else for the sake of a better share price.

The areas surrounding Fort Meade have paid an ecological price to have their natural resources exploited in exchange for jobs. Is it fair be left with what may turn out to be decades of associated problems without even those jobs to show for it? Of course such laws would never work because more desperate states would undercut more prosperous ones and someone would do whatever the corporation wanted to get jobs for their voters.

It probably would require stiffer  federal regulations to ensure a fair playing field. If no state could lure a corporation away with relaxed state regulation or subsidies, a company would have less financial incentive to pull out. But of course such laws would be viewed as federal intrusion on states’ rights and the most depressed states would complain that such high-mindedness was easy for places with less significant employment problems – and they’d be right. It is easy for a state like California with a strong base of high-paying, clean jobs to be more willing to comply with strict environmental standards than say Mississippi or Kentucky.

I feel deeply for the families who have lost an income through this closing. As much as I try to be a good steward of the planet and act in the interest of my community, I have no shame in telling you that I would happily club a baby seal were it necessary to feed my children. I doubt there are many among us who wouldn’t, which is why we rely on government to protect us from self-interest, no matter how well intended.

Again, this is of little comfort as corporations such as Mosaic continue to reap billions, while displaced employees sign up for unemployment checks. However, the other choice seems to be allowing private corporations to rape, pillage and plunder our resources no matter the consequence, while hoping they’ll demonstrate a moral compass along the way to squeezing every last drop of milk and honey from our nation’s land.

Natural gas employees is Pennsylvania, coal miners in West Virginia, oil riggers in Southern Louisiana and Phosphate miners in Florida have a right to be angry. They want to feed their families and they want work in the field in which they are skilled. Some of these out of work employees might lose their homes. Trying to scrape by with an unemployment check while everyone else up the ladder seems to get a bailout when things go sideways, undoubtedly adds insult to injury. Welcome to capitalism 2.0.

Use of Phosphate Fertilizer Contributes to Gulf “Dead Zone”

href=”http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/30/gulf.dead.zone.minnesota.farm/?hpt=Sbin”>http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/innovation/08/30/gulf.dead.zone.minnesota.farm/?hpt=Sbin
Windom, Minnesota (CNN) — Within moments of meeting Tony Thompson, you can tell he sees the world from a different tilt.

His frayed shirt pocket is stuffed so full of notes that it’s ripping at the seams. Hairy eyebrows spring off his face like grasshopper antennae. There’s a purple prairie clover stuck in the dash of his van, a bird book below the radio.

He says bizarre, eco-minded things like “I want to be a chloroplast.”

So maybe it should come as no surprise that this wild-haired, icy-eyed farmer in southwest Minnesota is among the first people at this latitude to make an important intellectual leap:

He sees people who live and work near the Gulf of Mexico as his neighbors — even though they’re 1,200 miles away.

Further, he’s changing the way he farms in order to protect them.

Scientists have recorded one of the largest “dead zones” in the Gulf’s history this year. This oxygen-sapped area — currently about the size of New Jersey — is caused in large part by fertilizer that funnels into the ocean from Midwestern farms, since more than 40 percent of the land in the United States drains into the Gulf.

The fertilizer kicks off a chain reaction of biological processes that, in the end, drains the water of oxygen and kills fish, shrimp and other marine creatures that can’t swim away.

This year, the BP oil spill may make matters worse. The coast is already strapped for cash, and some scientists fear cumulative effects of the environmental stress.

Thompson, 54, whose family built a house on this farmland in 1878, doesn’t want to contribute to any of this.

“I’d much rather eat wild Gulf shrimp than farmed shrimp, and I know that my efforts may seem insignificant, but I think we can have sustainable fishing in the Gulf and corn production in the Mississippi [River] watershed,” he said.

“I think we should all be saying, ‘We must have both.’ ”

But, as he well knows, cleaning up the Gulf from the Midwest will require continental changes.

Suicidal shrimp

As summer approaches and the Louisiana air gets hot and wet, Dean Blanchard says, he can tell that the dead zone is forming because shrimp leap onto the beach.

“They pretty much commit suicide,” he says.

Blanchard, who owns a large-scale seafood wholesaling business in Grand Isle, Louisiana, says he never saw that phenomenon until six or seven years ago.

Scientists first recorded an oxygen-dead zone in the Gulf in 1972. Since then, the size of this underwater coffin has fluctuated, but it is growing. In 2009, the dead zone smothered an area of about 3,000 square miles. This year, it is more than twice as big — and is the fifth largest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors the area.

The longer the phenomenon persists, the weaker the Gulf ecosystem becomes, said Rob Magnien, director of the Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research at NOAA.

“If the area grows large enough, the consequence is, at some point, we’ll reach a tipping point where some of our major commercial and recreational species [of fish, shrimp and oysters] would be severely affected,” he said.

No one knows for sure when the Gulf will cross that threshold, but the wait may not be long, Magnien said. Early testing indicates that the ocean ecosystem is already under intense stress: It takes less fertilizer pollution today, for example, to produce a large dead zone in the Gulf than it did several years ago.

That’s a sign that the dead zone will continue to grow unless fertilizer levels are cut drastically.

In the meantime, people in the Gulf seafood industry, like Blanchard, say they have to work around the dead zone each summer. Blanchard says he loses up to $250,000 of his $35 million total revenue per year because of the phenomenon.

And shrimpers may not be able to avoid the zone forever.

“They avoid the dead zone areas and are able to catch shrimp in other areas, but at some point, the zone is going to grow to a size where they can’t reach the shrimp anymore or they simply have insufficient habitat to maintain a robust population,” Magnien said.

Blanchard says the Gulf has become “the cesspool of the nation” because “everything comes down to us.”

“If you s— in the river, then you s— down here,” he said. “They send us all the garbage; it comes down the river to us.”

Neighbors by water

Thompson, the Minnesota farmer, has never been to Louisiana.

And Blanchard, the Louisiana seafood businessman, has never been to Minnesota. “It’s too cold up there,” he said.

But their paths crossed last summer, when Thompson was organizing a community event at his 3,000-acre property, Willow Lake Farm.

He wanted his Minnesota neighbors to meet a person who was affected by their fertilizer use and water management.

“We’re all in this together,” he said.

He also wanted to eat some delicious Louisiana shrimp. So, out of the blue, he called Blanchard and invited him to visit.

Blanchard didn’t attend. But he did send his shrimp north for the event, and Thompson used that food as an entree into talk about the dead zone.

Blanchard is not angry at farmers in the Midwest, he said. But he is furious about the situation.

“I’m mad at the government, that they don’t make them use different kinds of [chemicals on their farms]. Somebody’s got to be smart enough in this country to invent something that can do the job they need up there — and not ruin the Gulf,” he said.

“The government ought to have a team of scientists working on that. How bad are they going to let it get before somebody stops it?”

The government has started to look for solutions but hasn’t made a notable dent in the problem.

The entire Mississippi River watershed must reduce its output of two key fertilizer pollutants — nitrogen and phosphorus — by 45 percent to get the dead zone down to a manageable size, says a 2008 report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If those cuts happened, the dead zone still would be nearly twice the size of Rhode Island.

A new way of farming

Thompson was driving a tractor across his parents’ farm in 1989 when he cracked.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the deafening roar of the engine.

Mostly it was because he felt the way he was farming — tilling over the soil — was destroying the environment.

“I just hated it,” he said. “It seemed impossibly destructive.”

That night, he scratched this entry in his personal journal: “Never grow up to be a farmer.”

But time passed. And Thompson realized that it was just this method of farming that he hated. His intense frustration helped mold his view that the land, water and air are inextricably tied and that the actions of one farmer can be felt thousands of miles away.

He vowed to become a different kind of farmer.

With the help of an environmentally minded neighbor and his brother, Thompson etched out his vision on a large sheet of butcher paper, which he spread out on a kitchen table.

He didn’t want to till the land anymore, which he saw as a contributor to erosion and phosphorus runoff. He would apply “the softest touch on the land” possible, he said.

After struggling to explain this idea to bankers, Thompson finally got a loan to fund his vision. He put it into practice first on a small section of the family property, which he leased from his dad.

The changes worked. Yields went up. And, in Thompson’s view, the local environment became healthier, too. Missing critters like the meadow jumping mouse returned to the farm. The water became clearer. All of this eased his conscience.

He started to love the farm again.

“Here, I know all of my neighbors,” he said. “This is where I make my living. This is where my ancestors made their living. I’m not interested in fouling my nest.”

‘A long way away’

For many, fouling the Gulf’s nest is another story.

It’s relatively easy to convince farmers to adopt environmentally friendly practices if they can see the effects nearby, said Gary Sands, an associate professor of bioproducts and biosystems engineering at the University of Minnesota, who teaches farmers about the environment.

But it’s hard to sell changes that deal with the Gulf’s dead zone.

“They agree there is a problem, but they’re just so separate — so far away — from what’s going on in the Gulf,” he said of the farmers.

Scientists largely have figured out what farmers need to do to lessen their impact on the dead zone, said David Mulla, a founding fellow and soil scientist at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment.

To be effective in tackling the Gulf’s problems, however, Mulla said, the new techniques have to be applied across the entire Midwest.

Right now, however, only voluntary pilot projects exist. And at best, with widespread adoption of these techniques, he said, the U.S. would reach its targets for shrinking the dead zone in 25 years.

Still, Mulla said, the efforts of one can make a difference.

He’s seen that happen before.

When the state started pushing farmers to leave some of their land wild along the banks of streams to act as a buffer, no one seemed interested in taking valuable land out of production.

Then one farmer broke.

“Eventually, we got one farmer who agreed to do it, and — [snap] — just like that, everyone followed.”

Farm filter

Walk to the bottom of a field of alfalfa on Thompson’s farm, and you can see the start of Mulla’s one-farmer theory in action.

The green field, bursting with purple flowers this time of year, slopes toward a small body of water called Fish Lake, where Thompson grew up swimming and where he can’t help but snorkel from time to time, he says.

He planted alfalfa here specifically to buffer that lake from nutrients. Alfalfa is a “very greedy plant,” he says, so it sucks up most of the water and fertilizer before it can get away.

But he’s going further than that.

Just before the field gives way to a thatch of oak trees and then the water, a small metal box is stuck in the ground.

It’s not much to look at, but that box — and another like it — is the visible component of an underground “bioreactor.” It eats nitrates out of the water before they hit the lake.

Water is piped through a subterranean block of woodchips that’s roughly the size of a blue whale. This slows the water down long enough for bacteria to start a process called nitrification, in which liquid nitrates from the fertilized water turn to harmless gas.

From there, the water trickles into Fish Lake and the Watonwan, Minnesota and Mississippi rivers before spilling into the salty Gulf.

On that journey, it slithers past Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee; and finally New Orleans, Louisiana. You might think that, on such a long and winding journey, pollutants would somehow make their way out of the river, but scientists say that when liquid nitrates jump onto this one-way conveyor belt, they don’t look back until they’ve made it all the way to the ocean.

Thompson installed the woodchip bioreactor two years ago at a cost of $6,600, and most of that was paid through a university grant, he said. Another nitrogen-reduction project on a different field cost him $70,000. He paid that sum, he said, because that groundwater control system stands to increase his farm’s productivity, too.

Both of those systems are rather effective, Mulla said. The drainage system removes up to half of the ocean-harming nutrients; his bioreactor is capable of pulling 50 to 80 percent all of the nitrates out of the water under optimal conditions, said Sands, also from the University of Minnesota.

Thompson also says he monitors his fertilizer applications down “to the gnat’s eyelash” in order to reduce the amount of nitrate that enters the watershed.

“We don’t want to waste any nitrogen,” he said.

Thompson says it’s his responsibility to “send the best water possible downstream.” He doesn’t have the money to do everything he would like. But he’s optimistic about the situation improving in the long term.

“My job is to be a farmer, and I’m very committed to being the best farmer I can be,” he said. “I know to be a farmer I’m going to make a mess, and there are going to be mistakes, but my job is just to do a better job than I did last year.”

He hopes the idea spreads, one farmer at a time.

Half-Page Sunday Lakeland Ledger Color Ad

I have attached a PDF image of a 1/2 page color ad that the “Environmental Plaintiffs” (Sierra Club, Manasota-88, and 3PR) ran in last Sunday’s Lakeland Ledger explaining our position in the Mosaic/Corps of Engineers federal lawsuit.

This was in response to a full page ad Mosaic had run the week before. Their position is that they cannot mine the upland portion of the South Fort Meade Extension without destroying wetlands, therefore they have no alternative but to lay off all their workers at the South Fort Meade Mine until the case is adjudicated – which supposedly is going to wreak economic havoc on central Florida.

This ad is a variation on the previous ad I distributed which appeared in The Arcadian, however, it’s more concise and more cautious too.

We invite you to distribute this ad widely so that the people of Florida can know the truth about phosphate mining and how Mosaic conducts their business.

http://www.protectpeaceriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/phosphate_central_fl-Ledger-Version-Final.pdf

Dennis Mader
Pres. 3PR

Federal Judge Slaps Temporary Restraining Order on S. Ft. Meade Mine Extension

This afternoon (07/01/10) United States District Court Judge, Henry Lee Adams, ordered a 28-day restraining order on any mining activities at the South Fort Meade Mine Extension in Hardee County. A hearing for preliminary injunction has been scheduled for July 22, 2010 at the US Courthouse in Jacksonville, FL.

The Restraining Order follows a Complaint filed by Sierra Club, 3PR, and Manasota-88, on June 30. The Complaint alleged violations of the Clean Water and the National Environmental Policy Act by the Army Corps of Engineers. The plaintiffs demonstrated “likelihood of success in their claims that The Corps acted in a manner that was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to the law.” The Order went on to state that ” the public interest favors the issuance of a temporary restraining order to protect these resources (the Peace River and Charlotte Harbor) and the natural environment until the case can be resolved on the merits.”

Dennis Mader
Pres. 3PR