The Nature of Florida with Oscar Corral

Lawyer Rachael Curran gives listeners a glimpse behind the curtain of phosphate mining in Florida, one of the most secretive and environmentally destructive industries in the state

April 18, 2022 Oscar Corral
Lawyer Rachael Curran gives listeners a glimpse behind the curtain of phosphate mining in Florida, one of the most secretive and environmentally destructive industries in the state
The Nature of Florida with Oscar Corral
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The Nature of Florida with Oscar Corral
Lawyer Rachael Curran gives listeners a glimpse behind the curtain of phosphate mining in Florida, one of the most secretive and environmentally destructive industries in the state
Apr 18, 2022
Oscar Corral

Florida is the epicenter of phosphate mining in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. The practice of phosphate mining is to create fertilizer for crops. But it is also one of the most destructive environmental practices in Florida, which has about half a million acres that have either been mined, or identified for mining. Environmental lawyer Rachael Curran explains why the practice is so destructive. In 2021, for example, a giant gypsum stack, which is a massive pile of radioactive, toxic phosphogypsum waste used by the industry to stack their byproduct, sprung a major leak near Tampa Bay. In order to prevent the entire dam at Piney Point from collapsing, the state of Florida, through the Department of Environmental Protection, had to release hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into Tampa Bay. There are more than two dozen “gyp stacks” around Florida, several of which have had problems with leaks and sinkholes. As Florida’s population grows and water and wildlife become more scarce and valuable, can phosphate mining continue to co-exist in Florida, or will the industry's environmental troubles become more than the state can handle? 


Show Notes

Florida is the epicenter of phosphate mining in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. The practice of phosphate mining is to create fertilizer for crops. But it is also one of the most destructive environmental practices in Florida, which has about half a million acres that have either been mined, or identified for mining. Environmental lawyer Rachael Curran explains why the practice is so destructive. In 2021, for example, a giant gypsum stack, which is a massive pile of radioactive, toxic phosphogypsum waste used by the industry to stack their byproduct, sprung a major leak near Tampa Bay. In order to prevent the entire dam at Piney Point from collapsing, the state of Florida, through the Department of Environmental Protection, had to release hundreds of millions of gallons of toxic water into Tampa Bay. There are more than two dozen “gyp stacks” around Florida, several of which have had problems with leaks and sinkholes. As Florida’s population grows and water and wildlife become more scarce and valuable, can phosphate mining continue to co-exist in Florida, or will the industry's environmental troubles become more than the state can handle?