© 2022 All Rights reserved WUSF
News, Jazz, NPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Phosphate processing plants in the greater Tampa Bay region have caused some of Florida's worst environmental disasters. Accidents like the spill at the former Piney Point plant fill the history books in Florida.

Charlotte County votes to ban phosphate mining, following neighboring DeSoto County's lead

Digging for phosphate
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
/
The unanimous decision by Charlotte County commissioners would not only ban mining, but all activities that turn phosphorus into phosphate used in fertilizer.

Charlotte County has voted to ban phosphate mining or any activities related to mining. This comes after plans were unveiled to dig a new mine in a neighboring county.

The unanimous decision by Charlotte County commissioners would not only ban mining, but all activities that turn phosphorus into phosphate used in fertilizer. That includes the building of phosphogypsum stacks, which hold waste created by the production of fertilizer.

A mine has been proposed just to the north in DeSoto County, where commissioners last year banned gypstacks from being built.

That came after a rupture at the Piney Point stack in Manatee County poured hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into Tampa Bay.

The mining giant Mosaic, which wants to mine in DeSoto, has said it has no plans to dig farther south in Charlotte County. It already operates several mines and fertilizer plants in Polk, Hardee, Manatee and Hillsborough counties.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.