Final orders from the courtroom don't tell the entire story of how much was done to strengthen the rules governing strip mining and protect the Peace River Basin. Progress is better measured by looking at the gains from each challenge. Though some challenged permits have been issued, they are changed for the better along the way.
For example, the original application for the Ona mine proposed a 20,000-acre (32 square mile) operation. After eight weeks of hearings, the judge recommended the approval of a less than 4,000 acres—an 80 percent reduction in mining, with significant conditions attached to the approval.
Charlotte County Accomplishments to Date
- A nearly 80% reduction in the environmental resource permit (ERP) for the Ona Mine – from about 20,000 acres to about 4,000 acres
- Withdrawal of a variance that would have allowed open mine pits to be left unreclaimed and violate water quality standards – Mosaic and DEP called these open pits “lakes”
- Recent Recommended Order on Remand declined to recommend permit approval, based on lack of guaranty of sand available for backfilling the mined site.
- Denial of the ERP for the Altman Tract, the only denial of a permit for a phosphate mine in the history of the State of Florida
- Subsequent issuance of an ERP for the Altman Mine that was a significant improvement over the permit that was denied
Through Rule-Making & Legislation
- New mining reclamation rules now in place, with stronger stream and wetland restoration requirements
- Minimum flows & Levels rulemaking is ongoing for Peace River, we are participating
- New Uniform Wetland Assessment Method (“UMAW”) rules now in effect, with no exception for phosphate industry, which must follow same process as everyone else
- New standards for phosphogypsum stacks explicitly require that they withstand hurricanes
- The Legislature required DEP and SWFWMD to do a cumulative impact study of the entire Peace River Basin and develop a management plan to address existing and future cumulative impacts.
- New reclamation rules that strengthen standards for reclaiming streams and wetlands
Financial Security & Responsibility Requirements
- State law now requires phosphate companies seeking to provide financial assurance for mine reclamation through a corporate guarantee, to meet strict financial standards developed by U.S. EPA
- Improved financial security rules for phosphogypsum stack management and closures are now in place
- The Altman case required enough financial security for the life of mine – members of the Florida Legislature proposed eliminating the requirement or limiting it to one year – we got in the law that passed financial security for at least three years, plus any lands disturbed and not yet released from reclamation
Through Scientific Studies & Participation by our Experts
- Total Maximum Daily Loads rulemaking is ongoing for the Peace River, we are participating
- DEP conducted a basin-wide cumulative impact study and has our experts’ scientific and technical information
- We are submitting our experts’ scientific and technical information to the ACOE for the Ona EIS
Downloadable White Papers
We funded five "White Papers" by our main experts to make their results available to all.
Download them to learn more: