For more than a century, Florida’s phosphate industry has provided livelihood, prosperity and a vibrant future to local families, businesses and communities. The process of phosphate mining, reclamation and operations has evolved over the decades, and Mosaic is proud our team of scientists, ecologists and engineers is pioneering the latest environmental technologies to reclaim the land we use back to natural habitat, farming and other productive uses. We live and work here, too, so we want to do our job in a way that safeguards our natural environment and quality of life for generations.
We recognize there is a small contingent of vocal individuals who would like to shut down the phosphate industry. Such an irresponsible move would destroy thousands of jobs that residents of this region rely upon and would deprive farmers across America of the products they need to grow our food.
Claims that phosphate mining permits are simply rubber stamped are clearly misguided. Here are the facts: Phosphate mining is one of the most scrutinized and regulated land uses in Florida. In fact, our permits require a comprehensive review by nearly a dozen local, state and federal agencies.
Thousands of pages of scientific data and every acre planned for mining and reclamation are scrutinized. Public input is provided and considered, often resulting in changes to the final permit. This rigorous permitting process of data gathering is followed by another seven to eight years of analysis before a permit is decided. Most reasonable people would agree this is hardly a rubber stamp.
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These permits require our reclamation provide “net ecological improvement” — meaning what we leave behind must provide more support for nature than what exists today. This is possible because much of the land we mine has been previously impacted by historic uses. And in some cases these uses often drained land and divided wetlands systems.
Our reclamation provides an opportunity to reconnect historic wetland habitat, re-establish native plants and rebuild critical streams, while creating natural corridors allowing wildlife to coexist with agriculture. All examples of land reclaimed by Mosaic and thriving today across the region.
On behalf of Mosaic and our dedicated team of ecologists, biologists, and engineers, we are proud of the innovative work we have planned, and the advancements in reclamation ecology we are pioneering through our continued work here.
We deeply appreciate the input we have received from our neighbors throughout the community during this permitting process. With more than half of the crops grown in North America relying on phosphate nutrients from Mosaic and much of it from this part of Florida, the next chapter of our work will continue to nourish our community and the world beyond.
Bart Arrington has overseen Mosaic’s mine permitting in Manatee for the last six years. Arrington has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from the University of Florida and has served as a licensed professional engineer in the State of Florida for more than 17 years.