Case Number # 1785
Phosphate strip mining has devastated the Upper Peace River Valley in Central Florida. Over a hundred thousand acres of wetlands and hundreds of miles of streams have been destroyed by mining activities. Now, Mosaic Phosphate Company, which owns over 300,000 acres of land that it hopes to mine, is attempting to expand into previously unmined areas farther down the Peace River Valley. One of these mines is the 2367-acre Altman Tract which is located in the headwaters of one of the major tributaries of the Peace River.
Phosphate strip mining results in the utter destruction of the local natural environment from ground surface to a depth of 50 feet. Nevertheless, the Army Corps of Engineers has issued a permit that would allow Mosaic Phosphate to destroy almost 500 acres of high-quality wetlands on the theory that the damage to the wetlands is "temporary" because it is going to recreate wetlands that will function just as well (if not better) than the natural environment. It did so without even holding a public hearing that would have allowed local citizens to challenge the company's claims. Earthjustice has sued to halt the mining of the Altman Tract until such time as the company conducts a public hearing and performs a valid Environmental Impact Statement that examines not just the effect of this mine, but the cumulative impacts of all past, present, and future phosphate mines in the entire Peace River watershed.
Earrthjustice is representing conservation groups and local residents in this action.