Fertilizer production is a dirty and dangerous business. Along with tearing up hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat in Florida's heartland to strip-mine ore, the phosphate fertilizer industry has created more than 1 billion tons of a radioactive waste called phosphogypsum, stored in 25 "stacks" throughout Florida.
And now, despite the recent near-disaster at the Piney Point phosphogypsum stack, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is considering plans submitted by Mosaic to expand a gypstack at its New Wales facility.
In 2016 a sinkhole 45 feet wide and hundreds of feet deep opened in the New Wales stack. For weeks it dumped wastewater and phosphogypsum into the Floridan aquifer before the public was even made aware. At least 215 million gallons of radioactive, toxic wastewater and an unknown amount of phosphogypsum fell into the aquifer. And that 2016 sinkhole wasn't the first at this gypstack, either. In 2004 an "anomaly" occurred there, and in 1994 and 2013 other anomalies or sinkholes occurred at the north stack. Yet Mosaic wants to expand the stack by another 230 acres.
Tell the state's Department of Environmental Protection to do its job: Enough is enough.