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Leaks of wastewater at a former phosphate mine prompted evacuation orders and a state of emergency near Tampa recently amid fears that a pile of radioactive mine tailings could collapse. Believe it or not, U.S. President Joe Biden should have seen an opportunity wrapped in this crisis.

That’s because cleaning up the vast and neglected phosphogypsum stacks that dot Florida and other parts of the southeastern U.S. could help solve U.S. dependence on imported critical materials, all while removing the looming threat of environmental disaster from local residents.

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