Map left shows mined areas in central Florida
In the 1970s during the Nixon administration new federal laws were passed to protect our environments. The Environmental Protection Agency , E.P.A. was created to establish policy and enforce the new environmental laws. In Florida, the State Legislature passed Chapter 378, The Land Reclamation Law. Beginning on January 2, 1989, all phosphate mining operations had to restore the lands mined to their original bioregional, specific ecological environments: soils, slopes, contours, vegetation, species and water, every detail. This requires knowing what was there before and putting it back the way it was. It also requires knowledge of SEVEN DISTINCT TYPES OF ECOLOGY TYPES:
1. HEBACEOUS WETLANDS 2. Shrub Wetlands 3. Forested Wetlands
4. Herbaceous Uplands 5. Forested Uplands 6. Woodland Pasture and
7. Improved Pasture
Often a large mined area will include more than one of these distinct environments.
Reclamation plans and their corresponnding projected costs since 1989 are in the initial permitting process. Kevin L. Erwin Ecological Consultant in Florida in reviewing International Mining Corporations ( now Mosaic mines) reclamations including the brand new, highly contested ONA MINE in Hardee County totally lacking and insufficient based on the statute. My analysis of Erwin's projected cost for Ona to restore versus Mosaic's ,Mosaic cut corners to the tune of 50% of what would be required. Consistently IMC, now Mosaic built no money in for the ecology-specific soils, contouring of the land and the shaping. In layman's terms, a total botch job, nothing more than a generalized filling in of bulldozed soils. Monitoring needed for the time after are not present. This means that Mosaic will basically do a fill, some planting hit and run, with no follow up. You won't get this from Sierra Club, because they care more about the politics then the species. The entire law on online. See an important part of Florida's Land Reclamation Law below.
Read Kevin Erwin's Editorial and learn just who will pay the cost of the failure to restore paradise.
(9) “Reclamation” means the reshaping of lands in a manner that meets the reclamation criteria and standards contained in this part. (10) “Restoration” means the recontouring and revegetation of lands in a manner, consistent with the criteria and standards established under this part, which will maintain or improve the water quality and function of the biological systems present at the site prior to mining. In requiring restoration of an area, the department must recognize technological limitations and economic considerations. For example, restoration must be considered accomplished when immature trees are used; mature trees are not required to be replanted in areas where mature trees were removed to allow mining. (11) “Revegetation” means, in reclaimed areas, a cover of vegetation consistent with the criteria and standards established pursuant to this part and consistent with the land form created and the future land uses. In restored areas, it means a cover of vegetation that is designed to return the restored area to the condition in existence prior to mining.