Astonishing as it may seem that this 1.46 million gallons per day permit would be allowed, given the overwhelming evidence at hand which shows it to be contrary to the best interests of Florida, this is just Phase I of Sleepy Creek’s plan to take free water and resources from our land. Two more phases are yet down the road.
“This permit is not in the public interest,” said Lucinda Merritt of the Florida Springs Council. We do not need to eat beef to survive. We all need water.”
Whitey Markle with the Suwannee/St. Johns Sierra Club urged the board to deny the permit and “stop worshiping the sacred cow of agriculture,…”
Thus went the testimony yesterday at the St Johns River Water Management District Meeting in Palatka, as outlined by an article today in the Gainesville Sun, written by Dinah Voyles Pulver.
“On Tuesday, Thomas Hawkins, executive director of Florida Defenders of the Environment, disputed the water district’s assertion that the permit isn’t an increase. In reality, Hawkins said the ranch will be allowed to use five times more water than typically used under the existing permit.”
Sleepy Creek attorney John Wharton, meanwhile, argued its water use will not cause any negative impacts to the springs and “little or no impact” to nearby waterways.”
The water-dispensing “water managers” of our state ignore the fact that agriculture provides less than two percent of our state’s gross product, while tourism scores much higher. There reaches a point where income loss from decreased tourism caused by dried up springs and rivers, outweighs the benefits of agriculture.