Florida's Phosphate Mining Catastrophe
The Bone Valley region, also known as the Peace River Watershed, is located in southwest central Florida, about 30 miles east of the Tampa Bay Area. The Peace River Watershed includes portions of present-day Hardee, Hillsborough, Manatee, and Polk counties where phosphate is mined for use in the production of agricultural fertilizer. Florida currently contains the largest known deposits of phosphates in the United States.
Take a Look from Space
Take a closer look at what you can see from Google Maps. see hyperlink:
"https://www.Google.com/maps?ll=27.840787,-81.99678&z=10&t=m&hl=en-US&gl=US&mapclient=embed" You will see a large land area, about thirty miles east of the Tampa Bay Area, in the peninsula of Florida. This area is known as the Peace River Watershed. Here you will see numerous, very large man-made square or rectangular shaped mine pits, filled with clear fresh water from the crushed aquifer systems.
These square pits full of fresh aquifer water are distinguishable from Florida's beautiful natural blue lakes and ponds. These giant square pits are man-made craters made by phosphate draglines digging for phosphates a hundred feet into Florida's natural water supply. The water supply is in the form of underground water tables or "aquifers systems". Google Maps clearly show phosphate draglines have stripped and scarred the Southwest Central Florida earth by a full square mile from one phosphate mine, alone.
The phosphate industries' term "overburden" is more commonly known to the lay-person as lakes, ponds, trees, pastures, grass lands, rivers, natural springs, aquifer systems, watersheds, etc. Draglines are so large and numerous that they mine thousands of acres of "overburden" in just a month's work. These huge draglines mine down a hundred feet penetrating then crushing and completely removing Florida's natural aquifer systems. Untold volumes of water no longer contained by the aquifer system are free to fill newly created phosphate pits in the southwest central Florida earth.
As of this writing, thousands of square miles of critical wetlands, aquifer systems, and watersheds continue to be purchased by the phosphate mining industry for the purpose of strip mining the contents. This all happens with the permission of the state and counties of Florida as they issue permits earmarked for phosphate strip mines. Unfortunately, these permits grant the phosphate strip mining industry access to Florida's rich geography including Florida's unique aquifer systems. Florida's aquifer systems took nature millennia (thousands of years) to perfect and many are now totally extinct. Is Florida phosphate more valuable than Florida's watersheds and aquifers? Florida politics and a phosphate strip mining industry say it is every day. The (2) Florida Department of Environmental Protection Services says, "... in 2000 $1.13 billion dollars of phosphate based fertilizer was exported from Florida making it another one of Florida's leading export commodities".
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