Billboard Is Up

The Awareness Billboard is now in place along SR 70 west of Arcadia just before entering the proposed strip mining area of Desoto County. With its dramatic colors and juxtaposition of dragline vs rural heritage, this will help bring attention to this imminent threat.

As of this week travelers leaving Arcadia and traveling west to Sarasota on State Road 70 cannot miss a new bill board imploring DeSoto County residents to reject Mosaic’s proposal to mine 18,000 acres just west of Arcadia – roughly along that part of the highway where the billboard is located. This action was approved unanimously by the 3PR Board of Directors many of who took part actively in the design and message it conveys.

Special thanks go out to all 3PR officers who took part in this project and to those members who made contributions to the cost of the sign. 

Although phosphate rock was first discovered in the Peace River in DeSoto County at the end of the 19th century it is the only county in the Bone Valley phosphate mining district that does not have an active mine within its boundaries. The economy of the county is predominantly agricultural. The annual state rodeo is held in Arcadia in an arena that now bears the name of Mosaic,  the world’s leading producer of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients.

 If you wish to support our efforts to oppose phosphate mine expansion and protect  DeSoto County and the Peace River from this destructive industry please make a special contribution to our organization, 3PR (People for Protecting Peace River, Inc). You can send your contribution by PayPal or any other online payment service to [email protected] or through the Donate page on this website.

Please help us preserve real Florida from a fate that has already ravaged and will possibly destroy the integrity of one of Florida’s most beautiful river systems….

Dennis Mader

Executive Director 3PR

July 4th Parade – Arcadia

Come Join Us at the Independence Day Parade in Arcadia

 You are all invited to participate in the Independence Day Parade in downtown Arcadia next Thursday, July 4th.

3PR is currently the reigning champion in the event having won hands-down” Best Float” in the 2018 parade.

This is our opportunity to display our presence and our message to the DeSoto County community in an event which is popular, patriotic and fun!

Rachael Curran, our attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity,  will come dressed as a manatee. That in itself will make us a strong contender for first prize!

You are welcome to carry a sign. Some signs will be on hand or you can create your own. Brooks Armstrong, 3PR President, urges you to keep your slogans respectful.”Let’s stay in keeping with this event focused on the celebration of our Independence Day.”

The parade is scheduled to begin at 10 AM and we expect that it will wind down about an hour later. Participants are asked to assemble at 708 West Magnolia (708 Florida 70)  the location of the Girl Scout house on a vacant lot just west of downtown.  

Mosaic Agreement Bad For DeSoto County

On April 23, the DeSoto Board of County Commissioners voted 5-0 to accept a settlement agreement with Mosaic, the company that wants to stripmine some 18-20,000 acres in the northwest area of the county. The settlement, though sugar-coated on the outside, will be a bitter pill for DeSoto residents, as well as the residents of Sarasota and Manatee counties, who depend in part on Peace River for their supply of clean drinking water.

The special magistrate—a fancy name for mediator—who conducted the negotiations that were forced down the county’s throat by Mosaic was never introduced to the reality of Mosaic’s mining and manufacturing operations. It was as if a Bengal tiger negotiated with the villagers for a steady diet of children, while the mediator thought it was a tabby cat.

He had no idea that there would be eight massive lakes holding billions of gallons of waste slimes comprised of fuel oil, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, radioisotopes, mysterious synthetic amines untested on the human body, and other substances poised 60 feet above the Horse Creek tributaries, one hurricane away from breaching and annihilating all life downstream, as happened to the Peace and Alafia rivers many times. He had no idea what happens to the land that has been strip-mined; no idea where the product goes to be manufactured; no idea how much waste is created and how hazardous it is; no idea that Mosaic is under a $2 billion consent decree with EPA for mishandling toxic waste; no idea how many times phosphate mines have leaked, breached, sinkholed, and devastated aquifers, rivers and bays; no idea of phosphate’s links to red tide.

No, the special magistrate dealt with our situation as if Mosaic was a normal business. And this veneer of normalcy over the proceedings helped lull the BOCC into a false sense of security.

The settlement gives Mosaic four years to conduct quarterly, county sponsored “workshops”: opportunities for Mosaic to extol the virtues of its applications, which are encased in a small pickup-truck-full of 27 massive 3-ring binders. (Don’t believe me? Just go to the library and take a look for yourself.) If past performance is any indication, Mosaic is counting on four uninterrupted years of bald-faced propaganda, lies, and manipulated data to convey its point of view; to soften up the BOCC prior to considering its Master Mine Plan, Rezone and Operating Permit applications.

The commissioners like the workshops because they can talk among themselves without violating Florida’s Sunshine Laws as they experience The World According to Mosaic. A world in which sinkholes are mere anomalies; where tons of toxic and acidic water defy the laws of flow and gravity to obligingly remain in one place beneath the gypstack for three weeks; in which nobody gets sick or dies from the phosphate process; there is no waste fuel oil in clay settling areas, or CSAs; there is no impact from truck or train traffic; dust obligingly falls to the ground within 10 feet; machinery makes no noise; toxic waste releases are drinkable; neither CSAs nor gypstacks breach and release millions of gallons of toxic acid waste, and the devastated land will be put back better than God made it, all for just $5,000 an acre!

Mosaic loves the workshops because they provide unimpeded, unchallenged and unprecedented access to the BOCC, to smile and sell the idea of The World According to Mosaic. They know that it won’t be the details or the facts that carry the day. It’ll be the personal relationships, and the gradual cultivation of each commissioner.

With almost $5 billion in profits at stake, Mosaic can afford to be patient and strategic. It is already making plans to recruit another couple of reliable commissioners to be amply funded and elected onto the BOCC by 2022, in time to approve the applications for the DeSoto mine.

After January 2023, the historic rezone denial will turn into a pumpkin, the clock will go back to zero, and this community will have to endure the simultaneous hearings and deliberations on three massive applications. The sheer weight of facts, and the complex web of interconnected functions in those applications, will be more than any consultant can communicate or any commissioner can process, let alone maintain a healthy skepticism.

The grounds for decision will come down to personal relationships with the smiling tiger built over four years of exposure to Mosaic’s unsubstantiated facts, propaganda and misinformation.

— Andy Mele, Suncoast Waterkeeper

Andy Mele