The Charlotte County Commission voted unanimously Jan. 24 to approve a resolution supporting the decision by commissioners in neighboring DeSoto County to deny a permit request by Mosaic to mine phosphate in a large portion of the county that includes areas along Horse Creek, a major Peace River tributary.
DeSoto commissioners took the action in 2018. Mosaic officials may reapply for a permit in the future, but announced in 2022 that they no longer planned for a 2025 resubmittal.
In the meantime, the DeSoto County Commission has scheduled a series of workshops involving various aspects of the effects of phosphate mining. The next session will occur Jan. 31 in Arcadia, when reclamation and radiation will be discussed.
Sierra members have participated in those meetings and have consistently opposed the mining permit and continue to monitor events related to any proposed mining expansion.
In the resolution, Charlotte commissioners said their main concerns were the effects of mining on the Peace River, which supplies drinking water to Charlotte and adjacent counties, and the fact that Mosaic has rejected repeated invitations to appear before the commission to address their concerns.
The resolution also cited the history of pollution discharges to surface waters and the aquifer.
The latest incidents involved stormwater discharges at Mosaic’s Four Corners and South Fort Meade mines in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian last year.
Commissioners also sought support for their position from the Peace River Manasota Regional Water Supply Authority and its member governments.
Commissioners also requested in the resolution that representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which have regulatory authority over various aspects of mine permitting, attend a public meeting and provide commissioners with an overview of mining regulations and review current regulations to ensure that they adequately safeguard regional water supplies.