Florida House Advances Bill to Explore Phosphogypsum Reuse

Published Date: April 18, 2023

Instead of dumping a hazardous by-product known as phosphogypsum in stockpiles and causing environmental dangers, the Florida House of Representatives has put the controversial debate of utilizing the by-product as construction material into the limelight. The bill sponsored by Dover Republican Representative Lawrence McClure, HB 1191, is navigating through its final committee and signals a pivotal step in its legislative journey. The phosphogypsum disposal issue will substitute as a material for road construction, a proactive approach to diversifying road-building materials and reducing dependence on tremendous gyp-stacks for phosphogypsum management. The following information revolves around how the bill progresses. It impacts the state’s environmental policy and infrastructure development considerably, reflecting the dynamic cooperation between innovation in  construction management, sustainability, and public health.

Progression through Committees

The bill, aimed at investigating phosphogypsum’s viability for road construction, clears its final committee in the Florida House of Representatives, marking a crucial step forward in its legislative journey.

Managing Phosphogypsum Disposal

Phosphogypsum, a byproduct of phosphorus production, poses environmental challenges, with around 1 billion tons stored across 24 stacks in Florida. HB 1191 aims to diversify road-building materials, reducing reliance on gypstacks for phosphogypsum management.

FDOT Assessment and EPA Approval

HB 1191 directs the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to assess phosphogypsum’s suitability for road base, with consideration of existing studies. EPA approval would be required for its use in road construction.

Concerns and Considerations

While proponents argue for a comprehensive study, environmental and worker advocacy groups express concerns about potential health risks due to naturally occurring radioactive elements in phosphogypsum.

Emphasizing Safety and Study Scope

Rep. McClure highlights the importance of prioritizing health and safety aspects for workers and residents. Additionally, studying vehicle interaction with phosphogypsum-containing roadways is crucial.

Legislative Approval and Impact

The bill, approved by the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee, awaits consideration by the full House and Senate. If passed, it would prompt the FDOT to explore phosphogypsum’s feasibility in road construction, influencing future environmental and infrastructure policies.

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Original Article By Wes Wolfe- Florida Politics

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