Group appeals water permit for cattle operation
MARION COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Defenders of the Environment, and the St. Johns Riverkeeper, filed notice of appeal for the water permit that granted Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach's Ft. McCoy cattle operation - Sleepy Creek Lands - 1.5 million gallons of water per day.
Defenders president Steve Robitaille says the permit is a "a recipe for disaster."
According to Robitaille, 158 million pounds of manure, 11 million gallons of urine and 700 thousand pounds of nitrogen is what will be running off into the water supply.
"You take a river that is stressed and you add to this 1.46 million gallon withdrawal," he says, "and then dump all these materials on that property - essentially you have a recipe for catastrophe."
Stronach announced Wednesday a $125,000 donation to North Marion High School instead of the 15 million dollar football complex that was promised back in May.
In July, the water management district approved 1.5 million gallons for the next twenty years. A permit, Robitaille says, is a death sentence to resources.
According to Robitaille, water clarity and algae blooms are evidence of the impacts.
"These rivers and springs are no longer what they were."
In a statement to TV20, a representative of Sleepy Creek says:
"The appeal comes as little surprise. We appreciate the work of the St. John's Water Management District staff, the administrative law judge, and the full board of the Water Management District in the consideration of our case.
We believe that the 5th District Court of Appeal will agree with all of them that the issuance of the permit is consistent with Florida law."
Robitaille hopes the challenge reminds everyone to think about where their water is coming from.
"It's sort of invisible and because it seems to still be coming out of our tap we think there's an infinite amount of it and we know from our science that's not the case."
He says rivers in North Central Florida are already at alarming levels.
"Before it got out that tap it was running underneath their feet from aquifers at historic low flow."
Changes he and other environmentalists plan to keep fighting to prevent.
- Third Annual Sleepy Creek Protest
- Water Management District Staff Recommends Adena Springs Permit be Denied
- Sleepy Creek Requests To Modify Its Permit
- Adena Springs Ranch
- Silver River is in Decline
- Protestors fight to stop permit they say threatens Silver Springs
- Fate of Silver River in State's Hands
- Protest over Water Permit
- Local organization hopes to protect Silver Springs
- Commission approves Stronach's slaughterhouse