For Immediate Release, March 5, 2021

Contact:

Brooks Armstrong, People for Protecting Peace River, (863) 558-1588, pinelilywild@yahoo.com
Sarah Gledhill, (904) 347-6490, sgledhill@biologicaldiversity.org

Facebook Live Workshop on Radioactive Phosphogypsum Pollution March 8

Faith, Public-interest Groups to Explore Community Impacts, Solutions

TAMPA, Fla.— Conservation, public-health and faith-based community groups will host an online workshop at 8 p.m. EST on Monday, March 8 to share information about how radioactive phosphogypsum waste threatens their communities and how people can collectively fight back.

Phosphogypsum is the radioactive waste generated by the production of fertilizer. In addition to radionuclides that decay to cancer-causing radon gas, it contains other impurities and toxic heavy metals like antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, mercury, nickel, silver, sulfur, thallium and zinc.

That waste is stored in open-air stacks or piles, which are hundreds of feet tall and hundreds of acres wide. The stacks are often adjacent to vulnerable communities and can be found in Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

The workshop agenda includes:

  • An introduction to phosphogypsum;
  • Stories from communities fighting against the environmental and health risks posed by phosphogypsum;
  • A discussion of the effective ways communities are fighting back and of how people across the nation can join the fight.

Background

On Dec. 18, 2020, conservation and public health groups sued the Trump administration for approving the use of phosphogypsum in road construction. On Feb. 8, 2021, groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to improve federal oversight of phosphogypsum and process wastewater. The groups have now launched a people’s petition urging the Biden administration to take action.

What: Livestream community workshop on how phosphogypsum affects our environment and communities and what we can do about it.

When: 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Monday, March 8

Where: Facebook Live

Who: Speakers include representatives with People Protecting Peace River (Florida); ManaSota-88 (Florida); Portneuf Resource Council (Idaho); RISE St. James (Louisiana); and Cherokee Concerned Citizens (Mississippi)

A full list of the partners supporting the workshop is available here.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

People for Protecting Peace River is a grassroots conservation organization based in Central Florida dedicated to defending the rural lands, waters and communities of Florida’s heartland and beyond from the devastating environmental harms of the phosphate fertilizer industry.