Manatee County Commissioners have a big decision to make. Specifically, whether to rezone over 35 hundred acres of land from Agriculture to extraction. Better known as mining, in this case Phosphates mining by the property owner Mosaic Company. The world's largest producer of phosphates.
Public comment on the proposal has been overwhelmingly against mining. Many have said they don't trust Mosaic citing the recent release of tens of millions of gallons of radioactive waste into the Florida Aquafer. Mosaic says their proposal will have no significant impact on the environment. And that protected wildlife can be relocated and natural habitat can be restored. The last time Manatee County crossed Mosaic was when they voted to reject and expansion request and they were slapped with a lawsuit.
Fearing the county would loose in court, the commissioners reversed their position. Let's hope the possibility of another lawsuit does not intimidate the commissioners this time. On February 15th, Mosaic will present their rebuttal. There is a fundamental question the commissioners must ask themselves as they ponder the fate of this large tract of land.
Namely, what kind of place do they want Manatee County to be. A family friendly destination where world class developments like Lakewood Ranch attract thousands of new residents, or a place where mining and extraction of our natural resources can be bought by the highest bidder.
This should be an easy call, all they have to do is follow the will of the people. I'm Steve Sabato and we'd like to hear from you.