The state of Florida supports riparian waterways as public domain by law. Riparian waterways are defined as rivers, stream, lakes, marshes, bogs, aquifers, springs, or any navigable waterway above or below ground, including freshwater and saltwater. For instance, one navigates a canoe from a riparian (public) river into a small spring that is surrounded by multiple landowners encompassing the land around the spring. Riparian water rights grant anyone the right to canoe, swim, boat, or just spend leisure time anchored just off the shoreline of the spring.
Following the example above, imagine one scuba diving into the aquifer feeding the spring through an opening between the rocks in an underground (riparian) cavern filled with crystal clear water that also traverses property bounds above. Once in the cavern, one can cross property bounds with riparian (public) waterway rights (2). The examples of riparian waterways described above do exist all over central Florida. Florida’s phosphate industry officials know this as well.
Phosphate industry officials know the irreparable environmental damage caused by strip mining riparian waterways. Florida’s phosphate industry officials buy television commercials showing wholesome industry practices that create local jobs to feed people worldwide. This is a "smoke and mirrors" tactic that Florida citizens as a whole do believe, based on Florida Institute for Phosphate Research, (FIPR) studies. However, industry practices have little if any relationship to the TV ads portrayed by phosphate officials as described above.
The TV ads do not mention the last seventy years of destruction to Florida’s unique hydrological landscape and riparian waterways. The ads are not true based on empirical daily industry practices by phosphate industry officials. Statistically speaking, historically, phosphate industry officials reclaim abandoned mines in a 1 to 5 ratio. Meaning, reclamation of abandoned mines occurs to one out of five abandoned mines. The rest of the environmental damage is hidden from public view by building thousands of acres of massive earthen berms to surround the abandoned highly toxic leftovers (1)
When industry "mishaps" occurs in "abandoned phosphate mined lands", historically, Florida’s taxpayers cover the cost to neutralize the severe environmental damage, not the phosphate industry.
Mishaps occur regularly at all Florida phosphate plants causing severe environmental impacts, being hidden from the public, only to be discovered later by state environmental officials. However, many "accidents" occur in public view such as when a phosphogypsum stack failed and billions of gallons of toxic radioactive wastewater and by-products inundate the surrounding areas with a radius measured in kilometers. Riparian (public) waterways also become polluted, disrupted, or entirely stopped from flowing by phosphate industry mishaps.
Natural water flow volumes in the major riparian waterways near phosphate industry operations decline steadily year after year without much ado from Tallahassee, (capital) or local authorities. Maybe the millions of dollars donated to both political parties in the state stop the legal process and oversight to remedy Florida phosphate industry accidents?
1. Phosphate Mining | Sierra Club. - sierraclub.org/florida/phosphate-mining.
2. Understanding the Science Behind Riparian Forest Buffers: Effects - pubs.ext.vt.edu/420/420-151/420-151.html.