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Rally opposes Mosaic mining plan

Published By: BradentonHerald.com

BRADENTON -- Five speakers told a packed house Thursday why they think Manatee County should not allow the Mosaic company to mine in the 2,048-acre Altman Tract Parcel 4 near Duette. "Mining the Altman Tract is one of the largest wetland destruction projects in Manatee County's history," said Glenn Compton, representing the environmental organization ManaSota-88.

Several speakers at a rally at the Manatee County Central Library, sponsored by the Sierra Club, decried the county's sudden change in a course that seemed to be headed for denying the project in February.

On April 14, Manatee County commissioners voted to have staff draw up a development order that would allow Mosaic to mine the site, accepting Mosaic's reclamation plan and promise of a fire station and park in Duette as meeting the "overriding public benefit" for damage to wetlands.

Compton said accepting such infrastructure offers in exchange for wetland destruction sets a bad precedent for potential future tradeoffs of environmental resources.

Mosaic has said that the Altman Tract proposal is one of the most scrutinized of all mining permits and will follow very high standards that will protect water supplies and restore any wetlands to their original condition.

Noting that commissioners expressed concerns on April 14 about a possible $400 million property takings lawsuit by Mosaic in the event it did not receive permission to mine Altman, Dennis Mader of the group People for Protection of the Peace River, said the county commission must deny the permit of the Altman mine.

"Certain resources are too precious to mine," he said.

Mosaic representative David Townsend, contacted Thursday, said the company has never threatened to sue Manatee County.

No Mosaic representative spoke at the rally. County commissioners were invited to attend but declined, citing advice from county attorney William Clague.

Organizers said they will deliver a tape of the rally to them.

Mosaic received a permit to mine the property from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 2006, after the company reached a settlement with several southwest Florida counties that challenged the proposal. Recently the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued its permit for Altman.

Commissioners are expected to review the project again Tuesday.

If you go

What: Public hearing on Mosaic's Altman Tract mining proposal

When: Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

Where: Manatee County Commission Chambers, 1112 Manatee Ave. W.

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