EPA Administrator Tours Mosaic Operations in Central Florida
Mulberry, Fla. (October 21, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler participated in an extensive tour of Mosaic’s Florida Phosphate operations including the Four Corners mine, 500-acre reclaimed wetland, reclaimed Streamsong golf course and resort, agriculture operations and South Pierce facility and gypsum stacks where he heard from the company firsthand on how it is implementing environmental best practices through responsible mine planning, permitting, operation and reclamation practices.
“Mosaic has worked closely with EPA to reclaim areas that had previously been mined and on ways to lessen its environmental footprint,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Mosaic is an example of a company that seeks to improve environmental outcomes and create good paying jobs at the same time.”
"On this tour, I have seen the great work Mosaic has accomplished by returning mined lands to productive use," said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker. "EPA's regional office is committed to continue working with Mosaic on their land conservation efforts."
Administrator Wheeler began his visit to Mosaic by meeting with President & CEO Joc O’Rourke where he was given a safety briefing and update on company operations and its environmental goals. They were also joined by U.S. Congressman Greg Steube (FL-17), The Fertilizer Institute President & CEO Corey Rosenbusch, and EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker.
After introductory exchanges, the group departed for the Four Corners Mine where Kenny Miller, the general manager discussed Mosaic’s efforts to maximize water recycling and reuse in the mining process and investments in initiatives aimed at reducing energy use and emissions— efforts that have resulted in operating cost savings and improvements in environmental performance. The group viewed Mosaic’s 500-acre reclaimed wetland and heard about Mosaic’s use of advanced science and technology to develop comprehensive reclamation plans that promote hydrologic function and biodiversity as they seek to return mined lands to use for both wildlife and people. The last stop of the tour was to view the gypsum stacks and an emissions-free cogeneration facility. Mosaic’s Florida phosphate accounts for nearly 65 percent of U.S. farmers’ supply of granular phosphate fertilizer, and 12 percent of the global supply.
“Florida’s phosphates are essential nutrients needed to balance soil, grow crops and produce land-saving high crop yields, supporting our local economy and global food production,” U.S. Representative Greg Steube said. “I am pleased to learn more about Mosaic’s dedication to protecting the environment through continuously improving processing practices and investing in modern land reclamation to return former mined areas to public park lands – we will continue to work with them as they work with state and local leaders to be a good corporate neighbor to Floridians and our ecosystem.”
”We’re honored to host Administrator Wheeler, Regional Administrator Walker, Congressman Steube and their teams for a tour of our Central Florida Operations which are critical to American and global food security,” said CEO Joc O’Rourke. “Respect for the natural environment is essential to the sustainability of our business. As such, we welcome the opportunity to showcase our facilities, world-class reclamation and discuss the company’s sustainability targets and our progress on key issues such as environmental performance.”
Earlier this month, EPA approved a request from The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) to allow phosphogypsum to be used in government road construction projects. Phosphogypsum, a byproduct material of phosphate fertilizer production, is by regulation disposed of in massive, above-ground piles, commonly called “stacks.”
By finding a new way to use phosphogypsum, EPA is helping create a sustainable path to improve the environment while allowing for responsible reuse and recycling of a valuable byproduct.