(June 4, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Successful litigation initiated by Friends of the Everglades and co-plaintiff the Miccosukee Tribe appears to be yielding a new plan to restore the fabled River of Grass.
A Clean Water Act lawsuit by Friends, brought against the US EPA in 2004, played a vital role in bringing the State of Florida together with federal agencies charged with protecting America’s Everglades. The problem: massive overloading of phosphorous and nutrients, mainly from Big Sugar.
A 2008 decision by federal judge Alan S. Gold resulted in an order for enforceable remedies to reach the mandated 10 parts per billion phosphorous standard. Although we have been briefed on the broad outline of a plan to reduce pollution by phosphorous in the Everglades to acceptable levels, including promises of money from the State of Florida, Friends of the Everglades has yet to see details.
We have been encouraged by signs, but signs are not enough to allay our fears.
The state has proven an unreliable partner over many, many years. We want to believe the best is at hand for the Everglades, but we have not seen detail sufficient to allow us to move from a position of well-earned skepticism. Our fear is that the state once again is declining to impose enforceable remedies, adequate financing and best farming practices to sharply curtail phosphorous pollution of the Everglades as required by law.
Friends of the Everglades takes credit for at least budging the state of Florida and EPA to hold the line on federal law.
We plan on behalf of our supporters to hold fast to standards set by federal courts irrespective of charm offensives that fall short of detail to assuage our concerns. According to Alan Farago, president of Friends of the Everglades, “Marjory Stoneman Douglas who founded Friends in 1969 never accepted her name being attached to plans and legislation that failed the final test: stop Big Sugar and other polluters from wrecking the Everglades. Her will guides still guides us.”
Contact: Albert Slap, general counsel, Friends of the Everglades, 970-710-9553