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Florida sues the nation’s biggest drug makers, political battles heat up and Hillsborough attracts a Fortune 500 company headquarters.

Those are just some of the latest state news stories we’ll discuss with reporters on this month’s edition of our Florida Matters news roundtable.


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This week on Florida Matters we're hosting another edition of our monthly news roundtable.

We'll talk with journalists about some of the latest stories impacting our state, including Florida's lawsuit against opioid companies and phosphate giant Mosaic moving its headquarters to Hillsborough County.


Tim Fanning / WUSF Public Media

Almost three decades ago, officials with the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg buried a pair of ancient mosaics for storage purposes. 

Now, a temporary excavation site has been set up just off Bayshore Drive, as they begin a months-long process of unearthing and restoring the 2,000-year-old relics. 

A new law signed today requires public notification within 24 hours of pollution incidents. 

The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would require the state Department of Environmental Protection to promptly notify the public after a pollution spill occurs.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

UPDATED: 1/31:

Manatee County Commissioners extended a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of the Wingate East phosphate mine until Wednesday.

Commissioners Monday finished a two-day public hearing, where most of the speakers opposed the mine expansion. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, they'll question Mosaic engineers and county staffers, beginning at 9 a.m. The board is expected to vote on the rezoning request at the end of that meeting.

Monday, dozens of people told commissioners what they think about the mine expansion.

Senator Wants To Boost Pollution Notification

Jan 27, 2017

After an uproar about two high-profile pollution incidents, a key Senate Republican filed a proposal Thursday aimed at better notifying the public when pollution occurs.

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

The first hint that Mosaic's Wingate Mine is no ordinary phosphate mine comes when you drive down a dirt road and see a large dredge boat listing in a pond that can barely contain it. Drive a few more minutes, and prepare to board a tugboat in a huge artificial lake.

Lawmakers are vowing to strengthen public notice requirements for toxic spills after an administrative law judge struck down an emergency rule by Governor Rick Scott.

An administrative law judge Friday ruled that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection overstepped its authority in proposing new requirements for notifying the public when pollution occurs.

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Four environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to stop a plan to mine 50,000 acres of phosphate in three counties. They say the federal government hasn't looked at the overall impact of mining in the region.

The first public meeting will be held in Polk County for residents to hear more about the safety of drinking water in the wake of a massive sinkhole at a fertilizer plant that's sent millions of gallons of contaminated water into Florida's main aquifer.


The Mosaic Co. has announced a new, limited water well testing program in an effort to reassure Polk and Hillsborough county residents about the safety of their drinking water following a major environmental accident in September.


Business Groups Challenge Pollution Notification Rule

Nov 28, 2016

Five major business groups have challenged a plan by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to impose new requirements for notifying the public when pollution incidents occur.

Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham says the Department of Environmental Protection’s early response to the Mosaic sinkhole was inadequate.  The outgoing lawmaker is raising concerns as she considers a 2018 gubernatorial bid.

DEP: Plant Runoff Not Contaminating Wells Near Sinkhole

Nov 17, 2016

State environmental officials say that contaminates have been found in private wells of 57 homeowners near the site of a sinkhole at a fertilizer plant, but that the plant's contaminated runoff hasn't been detected in those wells.

Proposed notification guidelines for pollution are raising hackles among the state’s major industries.  The rule changes come after millions of gallons of contaminated water were spilled at a Mosaic phosphate plant.

A fertilizer company says it hopes to have a massive sinkhole plugged by spring, months after contaminated water and waste began flowing into Florida's main drinking water aquifer.


Hurricane Matthew's heavy rains are predicted to soak much of Florida, and that could complicate efforts to manage the pollution flowing into a sinkhole that opened up beneath a fertilizer plant's massive pile of toxic waste.

The Florida Sierra Club’s phosphate committee has formally objected to allowing a new Mosaic Company mine in Desoto County. Placida attorney Percy Angelo sent a letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on September 22.

A fertilizer company spokeswoman says one well on its property has seen contamination spread from a huge sinkhole that sent contaminated water and fertilizer into Florida's main drinking water aquifer.

Scott Orders Faster Notice After Pollution

Sep 27, 2016

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday ordered new public notification rules after a sewage spill in Pinellas County and a sinkhole south of Lakeland that sent toxins into the drinking-water supply.

Residents near a Florida fertilizer plant that has leaked more than 200 million gallons of contaminated water into a drinking water aquifer can have their wells tested for free.