Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Agency reconsiders approval to dig up wetlands

Federal officials have backed off their decision to allow the world's largest phosphate mining company to tear up 480 acres of wetlands south of the Sunshine Skyway bridge in Manatee County.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency in charge of protecting wetlands, had issued a permit five months ago allowing Mosaic to dig up the wetlands even though they feed into one of the region's primary water supplies.

State officials approved the mining too, because Mosaic promised to restore the wetlands when it's done mining.

But the Manatee County Commission voted 4-3 last month to reject Mosaic's mining of the 2,048-acre Altman tract because of the impact on the Peace River — a decision that led Mosaic to file a $600-million lawsuit against the county last week.

Meanwhile, a coalition of environmental groups sued the corps, challenging the permit. On Monday, a Department of Justice official notified the environmental groups that the corps had suspended the permit, halting any mining while it reconsiders the situation.

"The corps has determined that it is in the public interest to revisit the analysis in support of the permit decision," Col. Paul Grosskruger wrote to Mosaic officials in a letter dated Friday.

The environmental groups — the Sierra Club, Earthjustice, ManaSota-88, the Gulf Restoration Network and People for Protecting Peace River — hailed the decision as a victory. They also hope it's a sign of what will happen with Mosaic's plans to mine another 34,000 acres in the same region.

"This is a turning point," predicted David Guest of Earthjustice.

Mosaic officials could not be reached for comment.

Agency reconsiders approval to dig up wetlands 10/07/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 4:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Dunedin man arrested for having destruction devices, deputies say

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Deputies will be speaking later today to discuss a Dunedin man who was charged with possessing destruction devices in his home.

  2. Officials release names of those aboard plane that landed in St. Pete neighborhood


    ST. PETERSBURG — Officials released the names of the two people aboard the plane that made an emergency landing Wednesday on a neighborhood street in south St. Petersburg.

  3. Spencer: 'A better and more beautiful world if people like me were in power'


    In the a small theater crammed with cameras, Richard Spencer and a small group of his coordinators clashed with reporters as his controversial speech in the Phillips Center drew near Thursday.

    A crowd gathers ahead of Richard Spencer's appearance at the University of Florida on Oct. 19, 2017. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Analysis: George W. Bush's unmistakable takedown of Trumpism - and Trump


    For the last nine years, George W. Bush has largely stayed out of presidential politics; he declined to criticize his successor, Barack Obama, and he chose not to endorse but largely ignored President Donald Trump. While Mitt Romney and others spoke out publicly against Trump, Bush stayed above the fray.

    That …

    Former President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. [Seth Wenig | Associated Press]
  5. Fennelly: Even frustrated Bucs fans hold out hope


    Many fans wrote back when I threw out an all-points the other day, asking if Bucs fans are perpetually in a state of expecting the worst.

    Bucs fans cheer during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins in August at Raymond James Stadium.