Photos: Activists call for accountability in the wake of Florida’s Piney Point phosphate pollution disaster


In the last 24 hours in the community surrounding Florida’s embattled Piney Point phosphate plant, Manatee County officials have lifted evacuation orders and reopened roads. The moves come after local officials acted to prevent total catastrophe by pumping 180 million gallons of polluted water—a mix of rain, saltwater and water that's a byproduct of fertilizer production by HRK Holdings—into Tampa Bay.

The long lasting effects of this latest pumping of polluted water into Tampa Bay remains to be seen. But watching officials scramble to fix the holes in the reservoir holding 480 million gallons on top of a gypsum stack feels like a big fuck you to the environment. (We’re sure the manatees wanna shove one up the asses of the elected officials responsible.)

But it’s not like we should be surprised. As Craig Pittman points out, “Our state’s leaders have consistently put the convenience of industry ahead of the cleanliness of our waterways.”

On Tuesday, a group of activists—including some advocating for the rights of prisoners who weren’t evacuated from a jail within the Piney Point evacuation zone—made clear their opposition to phosphate mining in Tampa Bay and called for elected officials to be held accountable for allowing the environmental atrocity to happen.—Ray Roa

| Photos by Dave Decker