FORT MEADE – A federal judge granted an injunction on Friday, stopping fertilizer giant Mosaic from expanding phosphate mining at its South Fort Meade location. The Sierra Club
had filed the lawsuit June 30, joined by People for Protecting Peace River and ManaSota-88, out of Nokomis. The lawsuit claimed that the Army Corp of Engineers had issued the permit without forcing Mosaic to fully exhaust all other non-wetland options, in accordance with federal environmental laws.
Mosaic claims that the mine is not producing enough phosphate to remain open without expansion and that if the decision held, the fate of the mine and its 221 employees would be unclear. The Army Corp of Engineers
had issued the permit permit which gave Mosaic the right to strip-mine 10,750 acres in Hardee County (just past the Polk County line) at the southern edge of the existing operation. The permit runs for 18 years.
The South Fort Meade mine had been a major concern of environmental groups, citizens and officials in Manatee County
almost since its inception due to its proximity of our borders and concerns over its impact on regional air and water qualities. Mosaic just announced $400 million in net earnings for the 4th quarter 2009 and a very strong fiscal year in which margins on phosphate were noteably up.
The company says that the Fort Meade mine is responsible for a third of its phosphate production and noted to stockholders yesterday that an unfavorable outcome would cause them to adjust target share price downward by $7 per share. The Sierra club contends that 500 acres of wetlands would be impacted against federal law. The permit was issued without a public hearing or Environmental Impact Study, both of which were also ordered in the ruling.