Back in March, the Manatee County Commission decided to vote on a proposed expansion of Wingate Creek phosphate mine. The final permit was approved in June, even as a draft of a regional environmental study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was still receiving feedback. The draft looks at the impact of all the proposed phosphate mining in Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hillsborough, Polk, and Desoto counties. Public comment is open until the end of July. But, Manatee County Commission has already approved the Wingate Creek expansion. Some say this is due to past threats from Mosaic that they will sue for lost revenue if they don't get their permit.
Occupy Bradenton took up the cause against the expansion back in February. There were no shortage of reasons to vote against the permit and folks were happy to talk about it.
The ever-vigilant Sierra Club has started up a Water Sentinels Program, nationwide. This program seeks to defend our country's waterways from misuse and pollution by training citizens in water quality monitoring techniques and education. Armed with such resources, citizens can hold public agencies accountable for Clean Water laws and regulations. Several dozen volunteers have already enlisted and will be trained to accurately test water around the region. At Wingate Creek, the water will be monitored monthly during the first year of active mining.
If you want to let the Army Corps know your thoughts on this, you can comment here. By way of example, here is my feedback. And here is a wonderful guest column that is just as relevant today as when it was written in February.