Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tarpon Springs activist Mary Mosley left a legacy of environmental protection

TARPON SPRINGS — Mary Mosley fought the Stauffer Chemical plant in Tarpon Springs and won.

In the 1980s, she wrote a document called Six-A that was used by the state of Florida as a guide to protect wetlands, coastal and other environmentally sensitive areas.

In 1987, she battled the Clearwater Marine Science Center, now the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, for the release of a half-blind dolphin dubbed Sunset Sam.

Mosley died Friday, though no details regarding her death were immediately available. She was 70.

Arrangements are being handled by the Dobie Funeral Home in Tarpon Springs.

Her legacy, friends say, will be a better environment.

"There are no words to describe adequately her dedication," said Jessie Burke, a friend who joined many of the battles with Mosley. "She put herself on the line continuously for the environment of Tarpon Springs. She waded into many battles because she was following her conscious."

Tarpon Springs Mayor Beverley Billiris agreed.

"It's a tremendous loss to the city of Tarpon Springs," Billiris said. "She was one of those pioneers. She was outspoken for the residents of the city and stood her ground."

Mosley was a Tarpon Springs commissioner from 1983-84 and served on the city's Planning and Zoning Board.

But protecting the area's environment became her passion.

In the mid 1960s, Mosley and her daughter crawled up a storm sewer pipe to prove that oil draining into Spring Bayou was coming from two automobile dealerships. That excursion led Pinellas County to prohibit car dealers from dumping used oil down sewers.

In the late 1970s, Mosley set her sights on Stauffer Chemical, a phosphate processing plant that sat on the bank of the Anclote River. She wrote letters, contacted public officials and took pictures in an effort to show the dangers that the plant was creating for the environment.

Stauffer closed in 1981 and the 160-acre site was later put on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list as one of the nation's most polluted sites. Stauffer paid to clean the area.

Mosley worked to protect dolphins, pelicans, wetlands and the Anclote River.

She often downplayed her role in the efforts.

"She was attempting to make sure we kept the environment and that area for future generations," said Dr. Rose Mary Ammons, who lived in Tarpon Springs for more than 20 years but who now lives in Lutz. "She fought really, really hard and was as successful as one can be when they are fighting big corporations and the government. It's a loss to the community."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4174.

Tarpon Springs activist Mary Mosley left a legacy of environmental protection 05/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 1, 2009 10:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Mother's testimony about toddler's death brings judge to tears


    TAMPA — Nayashia Williams woke up early on May 7, 2014, to the sound of her daughter calling for her. It was the last time the young mother's mornings would begin with a summons from Myla Presley, who couldn't yet climb over the mesh fencing around the playpen she used as a bed.

    Deandre Gilmore looks towards the gallery Tuesday in a Tampa courtroom. Gilmore is accused of killing the 19 month-old daughter of his girlfriend in 2014. He said the child fell while he was giving her a bath. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Speakers: Getting tough can't be only response to teen car thefts


    ST. PETERSBURG — Bob Dillinger remembers coming to Pinellas County as a legal intern in 1975. There were five major poverty zones in St. Petersburg.

    Wengay Newton, Florida House of Representatives (in front, in center), talks as a panelist to a packed room during a community forum on "Reclaiming our Youth: Is Juvenile Justice a Reality?" at the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum in St. Petersburg Wednesday evening (10/17/17). The event was presented by the Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association. Community leaders discussed the ongoing auto theft epidemic among Pinellas youth.
  4. Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility and spousal abuse


    White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Donald Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter told the …

  5. Black entrepreneur says city stiffing him on project after he endorsed Rick Baker


    ST. PETERSBURG — A prominent African-American resident says his endorsement of mayoral candidate Rick Baker has led city officials to freeze him out of a major construction project along the historic "Deuces" stretch of 22nd Street S.