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A 25-square-mile phosphate mine in Hillsborough County

Published By: sptimes.com

A 25-square-mile phosphate mine in Hillsborough County

Phosphate mine would put tropical fish farm at risk

Perhaps you have heard about the request by the Mosaic Co. to do open-pit mining on 25 square miles of land in far southeastern Hillsborough County.

A number of area residents have been trying to stop the rezoning of this land, but we are up against a huge company with lots of money and political clout. They have successfully changed two previous zoning hearings at the very last minute, perhaps expecting us to lose our momentum and hope.

Tampa Bay Water is on our side in this fight, as one of Mosaic's proposed mining parcels is located within the Alafia River drainage basin. As a public water supply source, the river is considered a strategic regional resource.

Although Hillsborough County passed tougher regulations for phosphate mining in 2006, Mosaic is claiming that its vested rights means they do not have to abide by the stricter county regulations but rather can follow the less stringent state and federal regulations.

Phosphate mines pump, on average, more than 100,000 gallons of water a minute, according to the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research, an industry-financed organization, according to an April 4, 2007, article in the New York Times.

The western border of this proposed mining site will be about half a mile from our 20-acre tropical fish farm. Should the change in zoning from agricultural to mining be approved and the site developed, the impact to the water quantity and quality on our farm has the potential to be devastating! We are talking about 25 square miles of open-pit mining.

Kim Skidmore Owner, Golden Pond Tropicals

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