BAD BILL ALERT! HAZARDOUS WASTES IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION
Two bills (HB 1191 & SB 1258) have recently been introduced in the 2023 Florida legislative session that would authorize the Florida Department of Transportation to study the feasibility of using phosphogypsum in road construction and no longer classify phosphogypsum as a solid waste in some instances.
Phosphogypsum is the radioactive waste product left over from the production of fertilizer, and Florida has a lot of phosphogypsum.
TO TAKE ACTION:
Please send this message (or tailor it however you would like) with your name at the bottom.
You can directly send the messages through this link: https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/
“Dear Governor DeSantis,
HB 1191 and its companion SB 1258 would authorize a study on the feasibility of FDOT using the toxic waste, phosphogypsum, as road building material in the state of Florida.
Phosphogypsum is the end waste of phosphate mining and synthetic fertilizer production. Phosphogypsum has radiation levels that are unacceptably high for public exposure according to the EPA.
Furthermore, the bill requires this study to be completed by Jan. 1, 2024; far too rushed a time frame when considering public health.
Using this material under our roads would spread this dangerous pollutant around the state even as we have had unprecedented rain events like Ian that have washed out our roads.
The phosphate industry wants to continue to produce phosphogypsum waste. What good is spreading this contaminant around to everyone, especially if you are simply creating more on the other end?
Please oppose this senseless bill. Your constituent,”
About 6 million gallons of water was released after a pipe broke at Mosaic’s Four Corners phosphate mine.
State environmental officials are investigating a recent water spill at an active phosphate mine in southeast Hillsborough County owned by The Mosaic Company. Part of the 6 million gallons of water released ended up in a nearby creek.
Mosaic reported that discharge from a pipe break at the Four Corners Mine happened Oct. 2.
The spill was water from a pipeline used for transferring sand to reclamation areas within the mine about 10 miles east of Sun City Center. About 6 million gallons of turbid water was sent to a ditch that leads into a waterway called Hurrah Creek.
Piney Point on Tampa Bay is NOT an anomaly. Toxic phosphogysum waste stacks are failing across the nation. From Florida to Louisiana, Mississippi, Idaho, and many others have been impacted by this industry.
Cities and states are not properly managing this toxic waste; the EPA NEEDS to step in and step up improved federal oversight of phosphogypsum.
SIGN PETITION TO EPA: PhosphogypsumFreeAmerica.org
“While Piney Point had a particularly well-documented and long history of regulatory failures, it is by no means an anomaly. Leaks, seeps, and discharges from phosphogypsum stacks across the U.S. have caused groundwater contamination and numerous sinkholes. And these incidents, many of which are in Black, Indigenous, and Latino (BIPOC) and/or low-wealth communities, show no sign of slowing despite the well-documented harm.
What Can Congress Do?
Congress could, of course, reverse the Bevill Amendment, or more narrowly amend the RCRA to require the EPA to treat phosphogypsum and process wastewater as hazardous waste. Short of that, it could hold a congressional hearing to investigate the regulatory framework of the phosphate industry and the failure to ensure protection of human health and the environment.
Congress should also identify areas where it can provide additional resources to help the EPA quickly and comprehensively address this problem.
For too long, the phosphate industry has been exempted from accepting responsibility for preventing and cleaning up its ever-expanding toxic crisis. Federal regulators and elected officials must end this toxic nightmare now or shoulder full responsibility for the potentially catastrophic events that lie ahead.”
An enormous, privately owned reservoir at a decommissioned fertilizer plant was leaking and at risk of collapse. If it breached, more than 400 million gallons of mildly radioactive, highly toxic water could rush towards homes, businesses, and Tampa Bay.
“This is not acceptable. This is not something we will allow to persist,” said the governor, who vowed “full enforcement” against HRK Holdings, which had purchased the property in Piney Point in 2006 and used the reservoirs to store dredging waste scraped from the bay floor from nearby Port Manatee.
But HRK had declared bankruptcy after another leak in 2011 — one of at least three major discharges from the toxic reservoir since the fertilizer plant closed in 2001.
How Florida would manage to pursue a case against an allegedly broke corporate entity, DeSantis did not say. “We’ll never get a nickel out of them,” Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge later told the Miami Herald.