Protestors fight to stop permit they say threatens Silver Springs
PALATKA, Fla.— Environmental organization's held a protest in Palatka Tuesday in an effort to stop a permit they say threatens the future of Silver Springs.
Sleepy Creek Lands, a cattle operation got the go-ahead in 2015 to use more than a million gallons of water a day, and now it is petitioning the Saint Johns River water management district for more.
Protestors say the fight over this water is far from over.
Lisa Rinaman said, “This permit will cause unacceptable harm to Silver Springs."
Last month, Lisa Rinaman and a group of environmentalists filed a legal suit against Sleepy Creek Lands to have the companies petition removed from Tuesday's district agenda board meeting.
The petition would allow Sleepy Creek Lands, formerly known as Adena Springs ranch to use more than 2.5 million gallons of water a day.
She says the group does not want to see the petition approved because it would put the aquifer in jeopardy.
Lisa Rinaman said,” This permit is based on bad facts and unfortunately this is the new status quo for the district. They're putting politics in front of science and we have to make sure that that we're putting good science ahead of politics."
Back in 2015, Sleepy Creek Lands owned by Frank Stronach received approval to use 1.46 million gallons of water.
Now the company it's seeking an 84 percent increase from the district.
Protestors believe taking water from an over-tapped aquifer will further reduce the flow from Silver Springs, but others in attendance say they felt the approval of the petition could benefit the area.
Wayne King said, "I've been to these type of protests before and the people really don't check out what the alternatives are. They need to look at the people asking for the water and then they'd realize that they're actually asking for less water that the farmers show that they can have. They're not asking for the whole thirty two thousand acres that they own."
I reached out to Sleepy Creek Lands to see if they would continue to keep the reuest for the water going foward, but they never returned my call.
Environmentalists say over the next three months they will continue to protest at every district meeting in hopes of keeping the petition from being approved by the governing board.
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