Gov. Rick Scott today appointed Michael A. Daigle, director of operations planning at Mosaic Fertilizer, to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute. The appointment marks the latest in a stream of government interaction with the company — Mosaic gave at least $15,000 to Scott’s gubernatorial campaign, and a former Jeb Bush staffer recently went to work for the company.
A phosphate mine in South Fort Meade, owned by Mosaic, was shut down in July due to potentially detrimental environmental impacts. 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 (brought by environmental groups including the Sierra Club) 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.
In July, a U.S. judge extended that injunction — effectively banning the company from expanding production at the mine.
According to its website, the Florida Institute of Phosphate Research was originally created in 1978 as “a state agency to study phosphate issues that impact Florida’s citizens, environment and economy and to be a phosphate information resource.”
Daigle’s term begins today and ends Sept. 30, 2014.