Public Invited to Free Discussion on Phosphate Mining

Staff Report
BRADENTON — The League of Women Voters of Manatee County will present a panel discussion on phosphate mining featuring representatives of the environmental movement, government and the industry at a free event on Monday, February 11, at the Bradenton Woman's Club.

Much has been written about phosphate—its uses in agriculture, as well as its potential to do harm. A lot of concern has been raised about the environmental and health impacts of the toxins released by current and past phosphate mining in Manatee County. 

Should more mining be allowed? Environmentalists say no, the risks are too great. The company says yes; it follows all the rules and provides jobs. And what can be done about past mining problems (ie. the Piney Point toxic storage site) to prevent millions of gallons of hazardous waste from spilling into our waters?

The panel will include Andre Mele, Suncoast Waterkeeper and Vice Chair of the Manatee-Sarasota Sierra Club; Charlie Hunsicker, Director of Manatee County's Natural Resources Department; and Russell Schweiss, Director, Public Affairs, Land and Resource Strategies, who has previously worked for both the FDEP and the Mosaic Company. Each speaker will give a presentation, which will be followed by questions and discussion with the audience.

The event will take place from noon to 1:00 p.m. Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. for an optional buffet lunch and social time ($5 donation for lunch). The Bradenton Woman's Club is located at 1705 Manatee Ave. West. Reservations are not required.

Reader Comments
Ruth Lawler
FEB 04, 2019  •  Greg, though I feel your frustration, it is still imperative, in my opinion, to gain much public education and involvement. To throw up our hands and say it is useless certainly will not change how things are going. I, too, have been frustrated for years when our elected officials turn a deaf ear to the wishes of those who elected them...yet I will NOT stop learning and being involved. Quitting is not a solution for change.
FEB 03, 2019  •  Thanks for this notice and for the League. However, it feels fruitless to attend. I sat through days and hours of highly qualified scientists explain to the commission why phosphate mining is bad for our county. In addition, hundreds of citizens pleaded to not give more land for mining phosphates, over days in front of commissioners. What did they do with the factual evidence? Denied it and gave them more land to decimate. . Your notice reminds me of the infuriating frustrations and hours and days of arguments against that hundreds went through, many who even traveled from other parts of the nation.