Florida’s New Roads Could Be Radioactive
Environmental organizations in Jacksonville, Florida are urging Governor Ron DeSantis to veto a bill that was recently approved by lawmakers.
The Pending Bill
Last week, Florida lawmakers approved a bill that would enable the use of phosphogypsum in road projects. It's also known as PG. Despite its approval, environmentalists are concerned about the potential harm this could cause to the environment.
What Is PG?
Phosphogypsum (PG) is a byproduct of the phosphate fertilizer manufacturing process and is typically stored in massive mounds that span hundreds of feet tall and acres wide throughout southwest and central Florida.
Despite the federal government deeming PG as too toxic for any practical use, lawmakers in Florida recently passed a bill allowing it to be utilized for road construction purposes, contingent on the Department of Transportation conducting a thorough suitability study.
What Do Officials Say?
On the House floor, Bill Sponsor Lawrence McClure stated that the DOT's suitability study thoroughly considers worker safety, exposure limits, and environmental impacts.
However, over 30 environmental organizations from across the southeastern United States have voiced their concern over potential environmental impacts and worker safety and have called on Governor DeSantis to veto the legislation.
Ragan Whitlock from the Center for Biological Diversity warned of potential harm to nearby ecosystems and the construction workers who may come into contact with the toxic substance.
Despite acknowledging that PG is radioactive, McClure claims that federal and state regulations will ensure the safety of Floridians, including those working with the material.
Although some representatives requested further research before using the material, their amendment was not approved.
Whitlock also notes that Florida will need to request permission from the Environmental Protection Agency before using PG in roadway construction.
While some individuals in the phosphate industry advocate for using the material on roads, others believe that it is not a viable solution for disposing of the large mounds of PG.
Read More Here: First Coast News