Governor Rick Scott’s (R) ties to Mosaic are called into question today after the fertilizer plant released 215 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into an aquifer that provides drinking water for Florida residents. Some have even likened the situation to Flint, Michigan’s own recent controversy.
It was revealed that the Governor put $133 million of his assets into a blind trust two years ago and, along with it, he included his shares of Mosaic. Though his ownership of Mosaic is only listed in the blind trust at about $14,000, it does bring up questions of conflict of interest. And, on Wednesday, Governor Scott’s office released a statement commenting that Scott is not aware of any “sales, purchases or changes in the trust because it is under the control of an independent financial professional” as the Florida Bulldog reported.
Jon Steverson, Governor Scott’s handpicked Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection is now investigating Mosaic’s response to the contaminated water that was revealed late August of this year. It was the result of a 45-foot wide sinkhole that opened at Mosaic’s New Wales fertilizer manufacturing plant in Mulberry, 55 miles or so east of Tampa, Florida.
DEP’s Daily Update on Mosaic – New Wales Sinkhole for Sept. 22, 2016: https://t.co/mvd1Xhxn7f
— Florida DEP News (@FLDEPNews) September 22, 2016
Jackie Schutz, Rick Scott’s communications director made a statement on Wednesday saying that “Governor Scott will hold all responsible parties accountable for their actions and has directed the Department of Environmental Protection to expedite their investigation. Governor Scott has also directed the Department of Health to partner with the DEP in their investigation to ensure all drinking water is safe in the area. We know Mosaic has taken responsibility, but our job is to ensure 100 percent safe drinking water.”
As reported by tampabay.com, “Mosaic officials say tests from wells on its 1,600-acre site show the spill has so far been contained beneath its property.” It’s also reported that water in the aquifer beneath the plant is directed west and moves at an estimated 1,000 feet per month, so Mosaic installed a pump into a backup well west of the gypsum stack to draw contaminated water back to the surface.