Mark Kaplan, former chief of staff to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has been announced as the new vice president of public affairs for The Mosaic Company, one of the top dogs in phosphate and nutrient production in the country.
Kaplan previously led Mosaic’s Florida public affairs team. A phosphate mine in South Fort Meade, owned by Mosaic, has been in hot water in recent months. Although the company was initially given the go-ahead from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strip-mine thousands of acres of Florida wetlands, a lawsuit led a judge to halt production at a 700-acre tract of the mine, over fears that the mining activities were damaging two area watersheds.
The suit, which was brought by environmental groups including the Sierra Club, cost both jobs and money. In July, a U.S. judge extended the injunction, effectively banning the company from expanding production at the mine and pushing its stock down 5.2 percent. Following the injunction, Mosaic execs estimated that the ruling would cost them $200 million in annual costs, because it would have to buy more phosphate rock on the open market. The company has since cut that estimate in half.
Kaplan was appointed to the state’s Board of Education in 2010 by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. He resigned from the board last month.