BRADENTON -- Mosaic can never be accused of wasting time in getting things done with the Manatee BOCC. Tuesday was the mining company's third time in front of the board in just two weeks looking for an approval and once again, they got it. The company amended the master mining plan for their mine in northeast Manatee, which had been approved in June of last year. The board voted 5-1 to give the phosphate giant a 5-year permit for the operation.
There wasn't a room full of people like there was last June, and there wasn't a line of opposition there either; just a few bystanders and Mosaic's frontline team. The presentation lasted 10 minutes, and questions from the commission lasted even less. As expected, there were no surprises.
Commissioner Robin DiSabatino, who has voted twice to deny Mosaic a permit for their Wingate Creek Extension Mine, got up and left the chambers before Mosaic's approval proceedings started. DiSabatino said she was tired of being lectured to. "This is gonna stop," said the clearly frustrated commissioner. "We have a mitigation policy that we don't follow, arbitrarily enforcing our policies for some applicants and not for others. There was no question what was going to happen in there, and I couldn't stand by and listen to the same old story again. It makes me sick."
Right before the proceedings, assistant county attorney Bill Clague told the commission that they couldn't refuse Mosaic's application, as long as the phosphate mining company met the standards set by the county, adding, "staff approved it and any objection would shift the burden of proof, leaving the county open for a lawsuit."
It didn't take a threat to convince five of the other commissioners to approve the applicant's request in the usual abbreviated fashion. Commissioner Michael Gallen was the dissent vote in the 5 to 1 approval, with DiSabatino absent.