LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
I would like an opportunity to address the two-part article in the Arcadian from Jan. 17 and 24 (2019) entitled “Mosaic Interview…” Mr. Russell Schweiss of Mosaic presents reasons why his company would be an asset to DeSoto County if allowed to mine the 23,000 acres they propose.
In the first part of the article, Jan. 17, it is stated “highlights” are 200 jobs with a multiplier of 777. Is that our lucky number? Not stated is how many of those jobs would be DeSoto residents. Probably very few, as Mosaic does not simply fire their existing employees when they finish one mine and move to a new one.
Also in part one, Mr. Schweiss states that “safety is the cornerstone of our operations…” According to Good Jobs First, a violations tracker, Mosaic has paid $851 million in environmental violation fines since 2000. Remember the New Wales sinkhole in 2016? It took Mosaic and FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) three weeks to report the disaster publicly. There have been four sinkholes on record at that same facility. They self-monitor all their water discharges and we have no idea how often FDEP checks up on them.
It must be pointed out the reality of what is left behind after mining is done.
Travel north through western Hardee County and into Polk on the back roads, and you will see reclaimed, flattened out, sometimes not, former mine land.
There is little diversity and lots and lots of invasive exotic cogon grass. There is no citrus, no row crops, almost no agriculture. You see berms with dead pines and once in a while, a cow. In the part-two article, Mr. Schweiss mentions 6,000 acres of citrus, a “few” thousand acres of pine plantation and 13,000 acres of cattle leases. So maybe 25,000 acres?
What about the rest of the 250,000 acres of mined-out land, just in Polk County alone? (See: “What’s Next for Bone Valley? Planners try to Flesh Out Future for Former Mining Land,” Tom Palmer, Lakeland Ledger, July 23, 2015.) Is that what I see? You will begin to notice Mosaic omits certain things.
Consider Hardee County’s Economic Development director’s comments to the Charlotte Sun, July 22, 2018. He says mining boosts the local economy while mining is occurring, “But when the mining is done, the reclaimed site practically becomes an economic ghost town.” So Hardee should be in an economic boom time right now, and yet they remain at the bottom of poorest counties in Florida. Even millions of dollars can’t help them now. When mining is done, the lands are degraded for agriculture and development. (See: “Land Use Suitability Index for Use in Hardee County,” prepared by the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, 2002.) Lambert says that largely because of mining, Hardee County has been losing population for the last seven years while DeSoto has been growing by 2.2 percent (contrary to Mr. Schweiss’s statement in the part-one article), and Charlotte has grown by 8 percent in that time, according to the Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
In part two, Mr. Schweiss states that phosphorous is fundamental to grow the food we need. It is true, but we do not need mining. Restated: we do not need phosphate strip mining to grow India’s food or ours. The world farmed for centuries before strip mining for fertilizer and we can and will find new solutions to grow our food now. In fact, it is already being done on a large scale. It is called regenerative organic agriculture and requires no fertilizer at all. It is simply a method of conserving what is already in the soil. This is the direction we have to go. DeSoto can be part of the solution, and should not be part of the problem.
Ona (Hardee County)
91st Rodeo is March 7-10
The Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo for its 91st year brings “The Granddaddy of Em All!” to town. While continuing the tradition of quality, they host 4X PRCA Stock Contractor Of The Year, Frontier Rodeo Co. With some of the top rough stock in the country, it’s true grit action at its best. Arcadia should be proud of its rich history and what it brings to the sport, that its pioneers have laid way to one of the longest running, most respected rodeos of all time.
Contestants and fans travel from around the world to be part of a great rodeo that everyone should experience. There are four performances March 7-10, with gates opening at 11 a.m. Rodeo starts at 2 p.m., with plenty of food and vendors, so come early to see it all.
Downtown Arcadia will also be hosting another tradition with its Rodeo Parade on (Saturday) March 9. Single riders and groups may participate. Bring your horse, wagon, cart or just dress the part of your favorite cowboy. Join us as we transform downtown to cowtown, and bring back the days of old. There will be awards for best of class to the coveted President’s Trophy for best all around. So be sure to come out and support Arcadia business and it roots, what makes this town a place we should be proud to be part of. Parade starts at 10 a.m., with line-up at 9 a.m. for participants.
Director, Arcadia Rodeo Parade
Not worthy of front-page news
This letter is in response to the two weeks of Mosaic advertising in the Arcadian. Why would we even take a chance on destroying our precious water supply? Surely we would not let the corporate greed of one industry be put over the safety of us all. DeSoto County has a new venture on State Road 72 with the pectin plant. A possible car auction storage facility on (U.S. Highway) 17 south and perhaps the driving academy on State Road 31 south. I haven’t heard much about that lately. All of these will help DeSoto’s economy and tax base without leaving behind the devastation of phosphate mining. We must keep saying NO to Mosaic and their mistruths to the public and misdeeds to Florida’s natural resources.
Yes, Mr. Garrett, even you will get more than a “whiff” of Mosaic where you live to our south. The softball questions in the two-part article were absurd. We can all see through Mosaic’s propaganda. This misleading garbage was not worthy of front-page news. I’m sure there is other real news in Arcadia to write about.