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The long-awaited and once-postponed Department Of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) for the citizens’ challenge to the woefully and pathetically inadequate sloppy work by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) took place beginning Nov. 12 through present.
This sloppy work was the Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) which are mandated to be placed with the purpose of reducing nitrates in our rivers and springs. In our area the nitrates are caused by agriculture (about 66 %) and septics (about 6 %.)
Three members of OSFR testified yesterday: board member Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson for Sierra Club (DOAH CASE NO. 19-0645,) President Mike Roth for OSFR and Jim Tatum your historian for himself as a riparian land owner (DOAH CASE NO. 19-0648.) Ginnie Springs Outdoors was originally among the challengers in this case, but dropped out and did not testify.
The inadequacies of the DEP’s endeavors are illustrated by the fact that the lower Santa Fe River had a BMAP put in place about six years ago. Instead of reducing nitrates, today we have more than before the plan was put in place.
Our case was skillfully prepared and presented by John Thomas and Doug MacLaughlin.
BMAPs have never been challenged before. This is new ground for the DEP, and the outcome could have impressive consequences for our government agencies who cater to lobbyists instead of the people of Florida.
We will report.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-