by karen ahlers
Despite evidence that Florida’s iconic Silver Springs would be further degraded from the over-pumping of groundwater and increased nutrient pollution, an Administrative Law Judge has recommended approval of a permit for the massive cattle operation, Sleepy Creek Lands (formerly known as Adena Springs Ranch). The Judge’s ruling is the result of a legal challenge by Sierra Club, St. Johns Riverkeeper, and two citizens, Jeri Baldwin and Karen Ahlers. Florida Defenders of the Environment also supported this challenge as an Intervener.
Sleepy Creek Lands and its owner, Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, are seeking a permit to pump 1.46 million gallons a day from the already-stressed Floridan Aquifer for the first phase of a multi-phase beef operation near Silver Springs and the Ocklawaha River Aquatic Preserve. The proposed project has created uproar from concerned citizens throughout the state.