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OSFR Presents at DOAH BMAP Challenges

Chris Spontak of Silver Springs Alliance testifies, with Judge Ffolkes on the left and Ryan Smart of Florida Springs Council on the right. Photo by Jim Tatum

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.

Merrillee Malwitz-Jipson chats with lawyer Doug MacLaughlin during a break. Photo by Jim Tatum

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 %.)

OSFR President Mike Roth. Photo by Brenda Wells.

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.

We have posted here previously about the hearings, and you can read about them here and here.

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.

OSFR historian and board member Jim Tatum. Photo by Brenda Wells

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-