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Farmers in DC to discuss trade and the rural economic crisis; also Lily Bohlke reports on the Democratic debate -- from 2020 Talks.

2020Talks - October 16, 2019 


Last night in Ohio the fourth Democratic debate covered issues from health care, gun control and abortion to the Turkish invasion of Syria. What's clear: Sen. Elizabeth Warren has replaced former VP Joe Biden as the centerstage target.

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Mosaic Phosphate: 600 Million Dollar Second Chance?

December 16, 2008

A settlement agreement on a $600 million lawsuit has bought the world's largest phosphate mining company, Mosaic, a second chance to convince the Manatee County Commission to change the zoning on its land. On Tuesday, the commission will take a second look at whether Mosaic will be allowed to strip-mine more than 400 acres of wetlands in the headwaters of the Peace River.

In September, the commission had voted to deny Mosaic's efforts to change the zoning from agricultural to mining. The reconsideration is part of a settlement agreement negotiated by the commission's attorney. Chris Costello, regional Sierra Club representative, does not believe the settlement is in the public interest.

"There is no reason to settle something that has no merit, and they need to buffet the bullying attempts of Mosaic to mine what is not theirs to mine. Phosphate strip-mining completely eliminates all flora and fauna on the site, and leaves behind vast toxic wastelands."

Mosaic based its lawsuit on the "Bert Harris Act," a 1995 Florida law that protects private property owners from being "inordinately burdened" by government in restricting the uses of their property. Costello says the law requires that the company have either a vested right or an existing use of the land. This case does not meet either criteria, she believes, since the land is currently zoned agricultural and has never been a mining site.

"This is a ruse to get Mosaic its permission to mine in the Altman Tract, and it has nothing to do with a Bert Harris Act claim. It has everything to do with invalidating a legal vote, and we don't think they have a legal right to do that. "

Mosaic argues the county is taking its private property by not granting the zoning change to allow mining. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended Mosaic's permit in October, pending further investigation of the mine's potential impact on the wetlands, wildlife and the water supply.

Gina Presson/Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL