Manatee commission votes to allow Mosaic mining

- It took Manatee County commissioners nearly seven hours to make a motion to vote on whether Mosaic would be granted permission to drill. 

"We've got to make decisions. I don't like mining, but the fact of the matter is that they have property rights and mining is a specific listed property right that is allowed," said Chairman Betsy Benac.

Commissioner Betsy Benac moved to grant Mosaic's request to rezone 3,600 acres of land. She said they legally had to allow the request. Mosaic asked to expand their migate operations to the east in Myakka City. It was a hard decision that's come after hours of public comment and presentations.

"We do not have the right to say no. It is not a popularity contest. I know because a lot of peole this our decisions are unpopular," said Benac.

Commissioners Charles Smith and Robin DiSabatino voted against the request.

"It's clear to me that this board can take any position that they want, but the idea of someone breaking the law for not approving this to me here is disingenuous," said Commissioner Smith.

People who fought against the Mosaic plan, including some who live near the site, left disappointed.

"It seems like our commissioners were cornered," said Garrett Ramey.

Homeowner Garrett Ramey isn't giving up the fight yet. He and other homeowners are already talking about a lawsuit to stop Mosaic.

"I guess we are going to have to handle this through the legal process," he said.

Mosaic said it understands why some aren't happy with the decision, but the company said it will work with homeowners in the area. Mosaic said when the mining operation is finished it will return the land to an even better condition than it is now.

"There is a lot of differences in opinion. I hope in time we can work with some of those folks that did not support our application and try to get them to understand our position," said Bart Arrington the senior manger of land management at Mosaic.

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