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.
by karen ahlers
Adena Springs Ranch tried to head us off at the pass late last month. Adena representatives provided a “public meeting” at Church at the Springs in Ocala to announce they will reduce their water permit request from 13.26 million gallons per day (MGD) to 5.3 MGD. Their presentation sounded like they are starting to hear us, but in no way diminishes our resolve to pursue independent review of their proposed consumptive use permit.
The St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) has received thousands of letters and petitions expressing concern or objection.
“We share these concerns and welcome a thorough evaluation of Adena’s water needs and a valid assessment of the likely impacts of their withdrawals,” said attorney John R. Thomas who represents private citizens Jeri Baldwin and myself, who are spearheading an independent review of the permit. “No permit should be issued without a complete assessment and plan to protect and restore Silver Springs, the Silver River and the Ocklawaha River Outstanding Florida Waters.”
Posted in Articles, September 2012
Tagged adena, adena springs, adena springs ranch, bob knight, dr. bob knight, florida consumptive use permit, florida water crisis, karen ahlers, silver springs, southern legal counsel, st. johns river water management district