News And Updates
Published By: HeraldTribune.com
MANATEE COUNTY — Fearing a $618 million lawsuit, Manatee County commissioners today voted 5-2 to approve a plan by phosphate giant Mosaic to begin mining a 2,000 acre parcel in northeast Manatee.
The move was a U-turn by the commission that in September voted down the plan amid fears that mining in the headwaters of Horse Creek, one of six major tributaries to the Peace River, could harm drinking water supplies for Charlotte, Sarasota and DeSoto counties.
With two of the commissioners who voted nay no longer on the board, the expansion was easily approved.
The decision will, at least for now, spare the county from facing a $618 million lawsuit from Mosaic based on the company’s estimate of the worth of phosphate on the tract. The company threatened the suit after its original plan was rejected.
Mosaic in September gave the county 90 days to reconsider its decision or to go to court. That deadline would have expired next week.
Mosiac says it will replace wetlands it destroys with the mining. In addition, the company promised the Duette community it would build a fire station and community park if the residents backed the plan.