Item 4. on the agenda, Consideration: Enter Final Order in St. Johns Riverkeeper, Florida Defenders of the Environment, Silver Springs Alliance, and Alice Gardiner v. Sleepy Creek Lands, LLC and St. Johns River Water Management District, DOAH Case Nos.: 17-0119, SJRWMD F.O.R. No.: 2017-04, Consumptive Use Permit Application: 2-083-91926-4.
Unanimous vote to accept recommendation of staff, which means Frank Stronach gets all his water and Silver Springs and the Silver River get further degraded. And Judge E. Gary Early’s bizarre interpretation of the English word “public” becomes another precedent in the law books, to be perpetuated by those whom it may benefit.
End of story for now, until Sleepy Creek decides it wants more water for more cows. Your historian as well as major newspapers, environmental groups, and caring individuals have oft-repeated this sad tale, a shameful blotch on Florida’s incompetent and underhanded leaders. For much more information, go to our website oursantaferiver.org and click on “news” from the top menu bar, and write in “sleepy creek” in the search box. You will be taken to many posts giving this dark story of Florida’s springs.
Thanks to all who came once more to the defense of Silver Springs and the Silver River: Karen Chadwick, those listed in the photo above, and one more named David from Belleview whose last name we missed.
As is sometimes usual here, we are adding your historian’s message to the board. If you are still with us afterward, there are more comments.
Mr. Chair, members of the board, etc. etc.
Upon your consideration of the final order on the Consumptive Use Permit Application before you (2-083-91926-4), I urge you to deny this permit. Much has been written on the history and the changes on your staff concerning this. Regarding the science used upon which to base the recommendation, I quote:
The current plan is fake science that has been manipulated by the district to obtain a desired effect to benefit a few at the expense of the public. They manipulated the data to justify their desire to keep on issuing excessive permits as usual. The public deserves sound science, not a shell game. Politics has gotten in the way of the St. Johns district using the best science available to protect our county’s water resources.
This quote is co-authored by a former gov. of Florida and a former SJ district employee and appeared in the Gainesville Sun. It is an example of what is now becoming the generic descriptive language which fits our water districts. One wonders how much longer you can hold your heads up with any shred of eye contact or dignity.
You are aware of the fact that Silver Springs is in decline with much less flow and lower water quality than in previous years. You are aware that continued excessive withdrawals will harm it even more.
The number 1.22 MGD does not matter, you can write in any number; taking even 5 more gallons is unacceptable until we restore the springs and rivers to historic levels.
This permit is not in the public interest. Public means: people, citizens, residents, inhabitants. They are those who enjoy the springs. This permit is in the interest of private industry and a cattle rancher.
You are selling our springs for money. Not for your personal pocket, but the reason you are giving permits is money. Silver Springs is not yours to sell. It belongs to us and our descendants and you are taking it from us and from them. You are robbing future generations.
You have lost the trust of the people. Public criticism of your failure to protect our public water resources is mounting, and our springs are disappearing.
The above quote was by Buddy McKay and Bruce Kastor and their op-ed deserves to be read again and again. You can see it here on our post: “Fake Science That Has Been Manipulated By the District.”
Last year the same accusation of data manipulation and intellectual dishonesty was thrust upon the Southwest Florida Water Management District by Dr. Robert Knight, along with ample documentation to prove his case.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-