Report: Legislators Limit Pollution Damage Claims After Mosaic Drops Cash In Their Election Kittys

Jason Garcia a journalist whose Seeking Rents column regularly reveals the background on legislative hijinks in Tallahassee has scored again.

It seems legislators are poised to approve a bill that will limit the liability of polluting industries in Florida, including the phosphate industry.

The legislation, SB 738 and HB 789, involves revisions to the ironically named Water Quality Assurance Act. The bills would limit claims to the effects on private property and not for things like economic damages or damages to public health. This was tucked into a bill that was mostly devoted to changing rules for side slopes in the design of stormwater ponds. So it goes in Tallahassee.

This is probably just a coincidence, but Garcia also reported that Mosaic, whose pollution discharges over the years has been a topic of discussion among people who claim damages from them, dropped a bunch of cash into legislators’ campaign accounts just before the 2024 session began. However, because of new rules legislators approved that are designed to hide contributions until after the session, the total amount is a little hard to calculate. They seem to be in the six-figure range, Garcia reports.

Mosaic has been successfully sued in the past for economic damages resulting from its spills, so you could logically argue that there seems to be a connection between its campaign largesse and the legislative outcome.

Meanwhile, major environmental groups, including Sierra, have threatened to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its alleged failure to regulate a potential source of environmental pollution related to the acidic and radioactive wastes generated by the Mosaic’s phosphogypsum stacks. These giant waste stacks dot the landscape of southwest Polk County. Their chemical releases have been responsible for serious pollution incidents over recent decades.

The state legislation would not affect any federal action.


Posted in Group Conservation Issues.