Florida lawmakers are considering a new bill that would allow for the use of radioactive material in road construction projects. The bill, which is awaiting the signature of Governor Ron DeSantis, has sparked debate among environmentalists and industry leaders alike.
What is the Bill?
The bill would allow for the use of phosphogypsum, a byproduct of phosphate production, as a construction aggregate material. Phosphogypsum is mildly radioactive and emits radon gas, leading to concerns about its potential environmental impacts. Despite these concerns, supporters of the bill argue that using phosphogypsum could be an effective way to reduce waste from phosphate production while also providing an affordable option for road construction projects.
What are Opponents Saying?
Environmentalists have expressed concern about the potential health risks associated with using phosphogypsum in road construction projects. They argue that exposure to radiation from phosphogypsum could lead to increased rates of cancer and other illnesses in nearby communities. Additionally, they point out that there are other alternatives available for road construction projects that do not involve radioactive materials.
If Governor DeSantis signs the bill into law, it will be up to the Florida Department of Transportation to determine whether or not phosphogypsum can be used in road construction projects. In order to make this determination, they will need to conduct extensive research into its potential environmental impacts and consider all available alternatives before making a final decision.