Army Corps Solicits Comments, Please Act

This email was sent to me today by environmental activist, John Rehill, of Duette, FL. Note the before/after photographs of Bartow’s Kissengen Springs (embedded in his message)….

Army Corps of Engineers wants phosphate mining comments

The Bradenton Herald 4-12-2011

MANATEE — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is soliciting public comments on what should be included in an comprehensive review of phosphate mining’s impacts on Florida.The Corps plans to study mining’s environmental, socio-economic and other impacts in the Central Florida Phosphate District. The district, also known as “Bone Valley,” is a 1.3-million-acre area covering parts of Manatee, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough, Polk and DeSoto counties.
Comments on the study’s scope can be made by going to the project website, The comment deadline is April 25.
Court to take second look at Mosaic permit
MANATEE — A U.S. District Court will take a second look at whether the Mosaic Company should be allowed to proceed with a 7,600-acre phosphate mining project in Hardee County.
That’s because a federal appeals court ruled Friday the district court should not have issued a preliminary injunction on the project back in July, and should take another 90 days to review a permit issued to Mosaic by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Three environmental groups, including Manasota-88 and the nationwide Sierra Club, had filed suit against the Corps and Mosaic contending the permit did not comply with the federal Clean Water Act and would damage 534 wetland acres, 26 open-water acres and 10-plus miles of streams.
Mosaic on Monday praised the appellate court’s decision to vacate the injunction as a “timely ruling,” while attorney Eric Huber of the Sierra Club said his group was “glad” the permit will be stayed for another 90 days. Meanwhile, Mosaic continues to mine 200 acres of the Hardee County site under a settlement agreement reached with the environmental groups that involves protection of 40 key acres that encompass 14.3 acres of wetlands.
The Hardee County project, known as the South Fort Meade mine, is of regional concern both because of the hundreds of jobs provided by Mosaic Co., and the pivotal environmental role of the Peace River and its tributaries that are impacted by the mining project.

For those of you who wish to protect our water source, our estuaries, our rivers, wetlands and migration trails from strip-mining and the toxic environment left in it’s wake, please read this and respond by leaving a comment at the website above. If we don’t who will?

Of the many hundreds of thousands of acres that have been mined in central Florida, under 20% has experienced any form of reclamation. A Wetland is like “coral,” they are a thousand years in the making. They are a living breathing essential part of one of earths vital functions. That is to recharge our ecosystem’s ground water by filtering and percolating surface water to where it is stored for our drinking pleasures, in the aquifer. They recharge our streams, make water available for trees and habitat for migrating animals. They can only be destroyed by man they can’t be created. Any effort to do so is cosmetic at best and to be told otherwise is an insult to our intelligence. We have lost thousands of acres of wetland to phosphate mining. We don’t have that many left.

Water, the most critical element to our quality of life, is in peril and Mosaic is perched to prey on what’s left. Their sites are set on the Peace River watershed, a water source for almost 1 million people. This is not mentioned in the above article. It also doesn’t mention the river is a major source of fresh water to Charlotte Harbor, an important fishing and recreational area that also provides nursery habitat for numerous commercial and recreational fish and shellfish, and shelters species such as the West Indian manatee. The article neglects to say the headwaters also feed an estuary of national significance under the National Estuary Program and it is to be protected. That is because The Army Corp Of Engineers and SWIFTMUD have neglected to live up to that obligation and have only rubber stamped every permit that has been put before them when it came to Mosaic.

If we do not step up now and insist ACOE deny any further abuse to this last available resource of fresh water, who will?.

Mosaic is riding into this disaster on a horse called “JOBS.” I will remind you, Mosaics employs fewer workers per acre than any other occupation. Less than 3,000 employees at it’s best, on land the size of some counties. The math works out at about one worker for every 250 acres. Even national parks beat that.

Below is a park that once existed, but today is gone, history, no sign of existence, swallowed up from mining. Florida has lost many of these could-be recreational areas, recharging our economy or maybe preventing what has happened to it. But there is nothing but barren ruins.

I beg you, STOP mosaic from destroying the last bit of what Florida is. The estimated cost to the land that lay neglected is tens of billions of dollars and we are stuck with the bill. How can we get rid of our Teachers and let this GIANT corporation stick us with dead dirt and a future of peril?

I have included a list below of effects caused by phosphate mining incase one needs a subject to focus on, titled “False Fate” Please, Please, Please help us out. It will only take a few minutes.

At left, Kissengen Spring, located four miles southeast of Bartow, was a popular recreational area. It stopped flowing in 1950 due to over pumping of the aquifer in the region, largely by the phosphate industry. When the spring flowed, it discharged about 20 million gallons of water daily into a spring pool from a 17-foot deep cavern. Today the spring basin is overgrown with native and invasive plants and there’s little evidence of its former glory. Overuse of groundwater by industry, agriculture and residents in the upper and lower basins continues to cause problems in the Peace River watershed.

What does “Phosphate” mining do?
Here are some of the affects.

1- It destroys wetlands
2- It destroys stream and river water quality
3- It fractures the 10,000 year old “hardpan”
4- It destroys megatons of CO2 consuming foliage
5- It releases “Radon Gas”
6- It concentrates “uranium”
7- It drawls down the aquifer
8- It’s “runoff” overburdens estuaries
9- It’s repressive to county economic growth
10- It destroys old-growth trees
11- It’s machinery contaminates the aquifer
12- It strips the top-soil of all nutrients
13- It contributes to “sinkholes”
14- It uses huge amounts of fuel
15- It uses huge amounts of water
16- It tyrannizes surrounding property owners
17- It reduces surrounding property value
18- It employes fewer employees, per acre, than almost all other occupations
19- It corrupts local politicians
20- It poisons wells
21- It dries-up wells
22- It pollutes the air with “volatile” dust
23- It buries gopher tortoises
24- It destroys wild animal migration corridors
25- It destroys all of the native animal food-stock habitat
26- It destroys all of the grounds’ micro-flora
27- It promotes the growth of invasive plant species
28- It leaves the land to very limitable uses
29- It stores hundreds of billions of gallons of extremely toxic water behind hurricane vulnerable dikes
30- It exposes arsenic into the environment
31- It converts hectors of farmland into pits of barren topography
32- It dries up surrounding ponds
33- It uses tax revenue, externalizing operational cost to the public
34- It stinks

“Don’t let our worst habits
become our habitat”

Manasota-88 files concerns to FDEP on local phosphate mine

Manasota-88 files concerns to FDEP on local phosphate mine
By GRACE GAGLIANO – [email protected]
MANATEE — A local environmental protection organization has filed a six-page letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection outlining its concerns with Mosaic’s Wingate mine.
The letter filed by Manasota-88 to the FDEP is in response to Mosaic’s request to obtain extended mining rights at the Manatee County mine that is currently in operation.
Among the concerns of Manasota-88 listed in the letter include how extend mining will affect area surface waters, crops and air quality.
Last week, Mosaic filed a permit application with the FDEP to add 765 acres to the Wingate Mine in Duette. Mosaic plans to start mining 597 acres of that 765-acre parcel in several years as company officials project the 3,028-acre mining tract will be mined out in a few years.

Read more:

The Florida Phosphate Committee of Continuous Existence

I stumbled across this website in my online research. It has numerous photographs of our new governor in the header at the top of the page….

The Florida Phosphate Committee of Continuous Existence

In late November 1979, the Florida Phosphate Committee of Continuous Existence (FPCCE) was organized to encourage phosphate industry participation in government and key political issues. Additionally, the FPCCE would provide a source for contributing campaign funds to political candidates in the State of Florida.
In 1983, the FPCCE extended its membership base to include Associate Memberships; i.e. companies providing supplies and services to the phosphate industry. Associate Memberships enhance the FPCCE’s impact in Tallahassee by providing “Strength in Numbers.”
Today, the committee has three phosphate Member Companies and 68 Associate Member companies with the commitment to contributing over $500,000 in this election cycle.
Working closely with their lobbyists in Tallahassee from the three phosphate Member Companies, the FPCCE strives to promote stronger relationships between the phosphate industry and our elected government officials.
We thank you for your support and participation for a united industry effort!
If you are interested in becoming an Associate Member Company, please email FPCCE

The Florida Phosphate Committee of Continuous Existence
invites you to an old fashioned
Bar-B-Q Dinner and Social
Come on down & get the scoop on issues facing our industry!

Where: The Lakeland Center
701 West Lime Street, Lakeland FL 33815
Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011
Time: 5pm until 9pm
Admission: $150 per person
Deadline: October 17, 2011
Florida Phosphate Committee of Continuous Existence (FPCCE)
P.O. Box 1384
Mulberry, FL 33860

Former Environmental Lawyer Named Next Secretary of FDEP

Governor-Elect Rick Scott Names Herschel Vinyard as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection
CONTACT: Brian Burgess January 3, 2010 850-922-5130
TALLAHASSEE, FL – In his continued focus on protecting the natural resources of Florida, while creating the best possible mechanisms for job creation in the state, Governor-elect Rick Scott today appointed Herschel Vinyard as Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.
The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate and the Florida Cabinet.
Vinyard, who also served as a member of Scott’s Economic Development Transition Team, has a deep background in environmental compliance and innovation, having practiced environmental law for nearly a decade, while more recently serving as director of business operation for BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards. This mix of legal expertise and service with a major Florida employer positions Vinyard to uniquely understand the need for strong environmental protection while ensuring that government and business find new ways to partner in growing the Florida economy.
“Herschel is a man of deep environmental knowledge and practical business experience. He has a love for our great state’s natural resources and a passion for job creation. He will effectively balance those interests for the benefit of all Floridians. We are fortunate to have recruited Herschel from the private sector into government service,” Scott said.
As an example of Vinyard’s focus on environmental responsibility and effective business practices, he provided counsel to BAE Systems in their recent, successful efforts to remove its treated wastewater outfall from the St. Johns River. That wastewater is now being used for irrigation purposes and eliminates a discharge to one of Florida’s most significant water bodies.
In addition, Vinyard led his company’s three-year effort to obtain state approval for a sovereign submerged lands lease. His experience in this complex regulatory proceeding provided Vinyard with new insights on the challenges businesses face in the permitting process and the need to provide a more efficient and streamlined mechanism to meet environmental requirements.
“Good environmental practices make good business sense. Not only can such stewardship better protect the resources around us, they often save money and lead to new innovation. Herschel has been on the front lines of such efforts and will ensure that Florida leads the nation in new partnerships between government and industry that save money, streamline processes and create jobs,” Scott said.
During his practice at one of Florida’s most well-respected law firms, Vinyard represented numerous clients in a myriad of complex environmental matters. His expertise includes the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Water Act and liability issues associated with the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act, as well as Florida’s statutory counterparts in Chapter 376 and 403. He is also a past chair of the environmental and land use law section of the Jacksonville Bar Association.
Vinyard is involved in a number of volunteer efforts associated with conservation and environmental protection. As an advisory committee member of the Northeast Florida chapter of the Trust for Public Lands, Vinyard helped develop a strategy to identify and acquire sensitive environmental lands. He serves on the Florida DEP’s Lower St. Johns River TMDL Executive Committee to assist in the development of a basin management action plan for that water body.
About Herschel Vinyard:
Vinyard has more than twenty years of experience in environmental law and business management. In his current role as director of business operations at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards, Vinyard is responsible for strategic planning, business development and regulatory and government affairs. BAE is the world’s second largest defense contractor. He also serves on a number of professional and civic associations that draw upon his expertise in environmental and complex business practices. This includes board service on the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Manufactures Association of Florida. During his decade in private practice at Smith, Hulsey and Busey, Vinyard counseled clients in state and federal environmental compliance and permitting, was heavily involved in the siting of an electrical cogenerating facility and assisted in industry waste minimization efforts. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Louisiana State University.

COE Purpose and Need Letter

Protect Our Watersheds, 3PR, Manasota-88, Gulf Restoration Network and Sierra Club specify their case to the Corps of Engineers for ordering the phosphate mining industry to commission an area-wide Environmental Impact Statement. The case includes recent court decisions, prior and similar instances, USGS data, the failure of the FDEP to protect the environment, and other cogent reasons to conduct the study. This is essential reading to those who seek a broad understanding of the negative impacts of phosphate strip mining in central Florida.

Read it here: COE Purpose and Need letter(Final)