Editor:

Charlotte County commissioners finally acknowledging the monumental threat Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC’s proposed Desoto County phosphate mine represents for our county’s tourism, fishing, hospitality industries, real estate and property values, is a positive.

It’s an embarrassment that for 25 years the EPA’s Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program with its Mosaic-friendly board, hardly mentioned the word “phosphate.” Yet nothing in recorded history has destroyed the Peace River like the 30 phosphate spills of this mistake prone industry.

A FWC biologist testified the 1971 spill, killed 90% of the fish in the 106-mile-long Peace River. It also wiped-out the seagrasses in the lower river which have never returned. And, Mosaic sends us, under permit, 27 million gallons of their diluted pollution daily and will for years. Interesting to note as the DeSoto mine looms, CHNEP quietly changed their name removing “Charlotte Harbor” and replacing it with “Heartland.” Fitting, because it sure looks like they’ve represented Heartland’s phosphate mining industry, rather than the environment and people who live downstream. Almost looks as if their job is now done and they’re moving along.

Punta Gorda City Council, what will your political legacy be? Along with Charlotte Harbor and Port Charlotte, ours is the only typical waterfront community in phosphate’s path on the Peace River. If you’d have witnessed the two spills I did as a kid, you’d be mortified. So, would anyone investing in property here from single family homes to Sunseekers condos. New residents need to pay attention.

Paul DeGaeta

Punta Gorda

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