Dozens of residents showed up in Bradenton Saturday to protest Mosaic’s proposal to the county to expand phosphate mining operations at its Wingate East property on Saturday.

  • Planning commission approved Mosaic proposal last August
  • Matter to go before county commissioners January 26
  • Protesters expressed distrust of Mosaic

“The commissioners just trust them and say ‘oh yeah, they’re a great company,’” said protester Ed Hurley. “I just don’t trust Mosaic.”

The protesters outside the building where the Manatee County Board of Commissioners meet held signs that read ‘Mosaic gives me a sinking feeling’ and ‘Commissioners: protect the water, wetland and wildlife.’ They also handed out informational fliers to drivers and chanted “Mosaic has got to go.”

“This is my backyard, this is my home,” said protester Debra Daneghy. “I really hope that other people, when they get educated on this, will think of their grandchildren.”

Last August, the planning commission approved Mosaic’s plans to mine 3,700 acres on the Wingate site. The matter is scheduled to go before Manatee County Commissioners on January 26.

Protesters said they want commissioners to vote against that proposed expansion.

“Absolutely vote ‘no’,” Hurley said. “Then get Mosaic to come back with a better plan. If they think they’ve got a plan at all.”

Mosaic declined a request for an interview about the protest.

Resident Tracey Dang lives across the street from the Wingate site and wants to start an organic farm. Dang worries that her land will be tainted if a sinkhole, like the one that opened up in Mulberry last August, swallows hundreds of millions of gallons of acidic wastewater.

“215 million gallons of slightly radioactive or slightly pregnant water goes into our Florida aquifer that we drink,” said Dang. “It’s going to pass right through my property.”

Mosaic has said that testing around their Mulberry property on the Hillsborough-Polk County line showed the wastewater did not make it into neighboring wells. Still, the protesters believe the expansion will ruin the environment in Manatee County.

Protesters plan to keep spreading awareness about the proposed phosphate mining expansion before the commission votes in less than two weeks.