Letter to the Arcadian – The Future After Phosphate Mining

An excellent letter by Candace Lawless. A vision of the results of relentless mining of phosphate and the devastating effects on all we hold dear.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

No more sitting outside

To the Editor

I am a 30-year resident of Hidden Acres. You ask how I think phosphate mining will affect me. For all these years the threat has loomed over us. At my age, I will probably not see the devastation first hand. The first thing to go will be the well, as the mining sucks the water up. The polluted dust will be everywhere, AC a must at all times. No more sitting outside.

The rumble noise will be a constant irritant. The creek will just die; if we are lucky, it will dry up—the alternative is total poisoning when it floods any land the flooding touches … and it will flood. The birds will be gone, the bees and insects gone. Without them, the plants will go next.

Pine Level, which is a particularly pretty area, will be a moonscape. After reclamation, it will never ever be the same. I’ve been to Mulberry via (CR) 663 to (SR) 37; I have seen the strange landscape there. I first saw the moonscape up near 14 years ago when my job had me traveling the state. What a shock! The children’s lives will be the worst, the cancer, the shortened lifespans, the breathing problems.

I have told people I will probably never set foot into the bribery arena; I feel strongly that the people are being sold out.

Candace Lawless

Arcadia

Kissingen Spring

At one time the Historic Kissengen Spring discharged up to 20 million gallons of water a day into the Peace River. The spring’s pool was 200 feet in diameter and reached a depth of 17 feet above the spring vent.

Its boil reportedly was so powerful that the strongest swimmer could not reach it. Archaeological evidence shows this area of the Peace River was inhabited by Native Americans who established large villages near the river’s springs. In the late 1800s developers sought to acquire the spring as a resort destination and sanatorium. Although plans for rail lines, trolleys, and boats never were realized to exploit the spring for tourism, a dance floor, dive platform, and bathhouses were built, and thousands of locals and tourists visited over 75 years.

In the 1930s the popular spring was the site of major political rallies. During World War II, it served as a rest and recuperation resort for members of the military based near Bartow. The spring ceased to be a tourist destination after its groundwater was captured for other uses.

The spring vent was plugged in 1962, and it ceased to flow again. Read more here.

To learn more about the destruction of aquifers and running dry, read the USGS research here.

We Believe That

  • The Peace River Heartland, a name for the area of central Florida which includes Hardee, DeSoto, Manatee and Charlotte Counties, has a unique, much varied, and valuable character. If this area is to be discovered by future generations, it must be preserved.
  • The safety and well-being of the citizens of our area is more important than the profits of the phosphate industry.
  • The preservation of native and agricultural lands is of great importance for our well-being, but even more, for the well-being of those who would live here in the future.
  • Permanent alteration of our land is not corrected by reclamation or mitigation, as the soils and aquifers are so extremely rearranged.
  • What goes into the ground here in the Peace and Myakka River watersheds can potentially end up in our wells or in Charlotte Harbor at the end of the stream.
  • Industrial chemicals have no place in our soils with our near surface aquifers.
  • We have a responsibility to all future generations to leave our natural environment as intact, rich and varied as we found it, if not better.
  • Someone must care. This means that a value beyond money must prevail.
  • That profit and preservation can coexist. This is Florida, a land of tourism, and we are part of it.
  • The Peace River Heartland, known to the phosphate industry as “Bone Valley“, has a unique natural and agricultural character which has many superior alternatives to phosphate strip mining.

Mosaic Closes Mine As Profits Plummet 70% Nov. 2013

Mosaic, one of Minnesota’s 10 largest public companies, said its revenue fell almost 30 percent last quarter; its stock, meanwhile, has dropped nearly 20 percent in 2013.

by Kevin Mahoney
November 5, 2013

The Mosaic Company said Tuesday that its third-quarter profit fell 70 percent and that it is closing one of its potash mines in Michigan.

The Plymouth-based potash and phosphate fertilizer provider announced that net earnings for the third quarter, which ended September 30, totaled $124.4 million, or $0.29 per share, down from $417.4 million, or $0.98 per share, during the same period in 2012. Earnings per share were $0.05 lower than what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected.

Revenue, meanwhile, totaled $1.91 billion, down about 28 percent from $2.65 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Third-quarter revenue fell short of analysts’ projections of $1.97 billion.

Shares of Mosaic’s stock were trading down about 1.65 percent at $45.96 Tuesday afternoon, and they are down roughly 19 percent this year.

President and CEO Jim Prokopanko blamed the weak quarterly results on lower potash and phosphate prices, a late North American fall season, and cautious dealer behavior.

“We believe the current challenges in the environment in which we operate, for both phosphate and potash, are cyclical in nature and provide Mosaic opportunities to deploy capital, including shareholder distributions,” Prokopanko said in a statement. “The long-term outlook for Mosaic remains compelling.”

In addition to closing a mine in Michigan, the company said it would be exiting the “underperforming” Argentina and Chile distribution businesses, to focus more heavily on its growing business in Brazil.

Prokopanko said the company expects pricing to remain challenging going into 2014 and that international demand, especially in India and China, remains unpredictable.

Mosaic is among Minnesota’s 10 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $11.1 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year.