Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Mayor Urges Crist Veto of Water Permitting Bill

In a letter dated June 4th, Mayor Peyton urges Governor Charlie Crist to veto Senate Bill 2080.  This is the bill that would require that the water management district’s executive director issue water use and wetland permits and delete the governing board from the approval process, unless the executive director recommended denial of the permit.  If signed into law, this legislation would prevent the public from having input to the water management district’s governing board on water use and wetland permits, except in cases of permit denials.

Read the Mayor’s letter here.

Filed under: Florida Legislature, Jacksonville, Mayor of Jacksonville,

Kill Destructive Water Bill

The Orlando Sentinel weighs in on the legislation (SB 2080) that would cut out the water management district’s Governing Board members in permitting decisions and turn those decisions over to the district’s executive directors. If the legislation becomes law, the only way Board members would hear permitting decisions were if the district staff recommended denial of the permit. As it turns out Kirby Green, Executive Director of the St. Johns River Water Management District, supports the legislation. Surprise! I guess he doesn’t need 19,000 pesky Floridians trying to weigh in with his Governing Board members anymore on the St. Johns River water withdrawal permit for Seminole County, among other things.  The Orlando Sentinel editorial requests Crist to veto the bill.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, , , , , ,

Riverkeeper Fighting Water Management District’s Decision

From Riverhugger:

Jacksonville, FL — St. Johns Riverkeeper filed an appeal today with the Fifth District Court of Appeal, challenging the recent decision by the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) Governing Board to allow Seminole County to remove millions of gallons of water a day from the flow of the St. Johns River. The Court is located in Daytona, Florida.

With the filing, St. Johns Riverkeeper makes good on its promise to continue its fight to protect the river and ends Seminole County’s hopes that concerned citizens throughout Florida would pull back from their two-year struggle to prevent the withdrawal of water from the St. Johns. Last year, St. Johns Riverkeeper, the City of Jacksonville, and St. Johns County filed for an administrative hearing to challenge the permit.

The full press release can be read here.  (Hat Tip: The Urban Core)

Filed under: Jacksonville, , ,

Seminole County Wants More Than Our Water

Seminole County wants more than Jacksonville’s water.  They’ve now decided they desperately need our tourism dollars as well.  Fresh off their victory over Duval, Putnam and St. Johns County in their bid to draw up to 5 million gallons of water per day from the St. Johns River, Seminole County has begun advertising in North Florida’s largest media outlet—The Florida Times-Union—seeking visitors to “Florida’s Natural Choice.”  Of course, the ads don’t mention that they manage to bring “Nature Nearer” by sucking it straight out of North Florida’s most treasured natural resource—the St. Johns River.  I don’t know about you, but until Seminole County has embraced conservation and solved their water shortage issues without causing irreprable harm to Florida’s ecosystem, I think I’ll choose to spend my tourism dollars elsewhere.  The ads are below… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

District approves St. Johns River Water Withdrawal Permit

Following a hearing loaded with hundreds of citizens opposing the proposed permit for Seminole County to withdraw water from the St. Johns River, the St. Johns River Water Management District voted 5-4 to approve the permit Monday evening.

If a legislator wanted to reform the water management districts with plenty of support from the public,  now would be a good time to propose that reform.  Why?  According to the Orlando Sentinel, the water management district received over 19,000 e-mails regarding the proposed permit and the vast majority of them were against the issuance of the permit.

Read the story from the Orlando Sentinel here.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Legislature, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, Mayor of Jacksonville, , , ,

Public Must Attend SJRWMD Meeting to Offer Input

The St. Johns River Water Management District has decided that the only way for the public to comment on their pending decision in regards to Seminole County’s efforts to drain millions of gallons of water per day from the St. Johns River will be to attend the meeting in person.  After becoming aware of an effort by the Riverkeeper to encourage citizens to e-mail the District’s Board Members to voice their opposition, the District installed new software that will seek to block all incoming e-mails that address the issue.  The District expressed concerns about Board Members having “ex parte” communications in regards to pending decisions and warned Riverkeeper to stop soliciting e-mails in regards to the Seminole County decision.

Because of their decision, the only way for the public to offer input in regards to Seminole County’s efforts to draw billions of gallons of water each year will be to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for April 13, 2009 at 1pm at the District’s Palatka headquarters.  Mayor Peyton, the St. Johns Riverkeeper and St. Johns County are scheduled to address the Board, as well as Seminole County.  At 2:15, members of the public who have not been involved in the hearing process will be allowed to speak.  The Board is scheduled to reach a final decision by 4pm.

The e-mails that outline the District’s decision to filter e-mails from the public are below:

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Jacksonville, , , , ,

What Were They Thinking?

From the TU’s Rants and Raves:

So some genius at the St. Johns Water Management District decided I can only water my yard on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This might come as a shock to the out-of-touch bureaucrats who came up with this, but some of us work during the week and have to mow on Saturdays. If the grass is wet, we can’t mow. Watering in the evening, after the yard is mowed, is out because gardening experts say that can promote lawn disease. I know the overpaid paper-shufflers at the district probably all have yard services, so this never occurred to them.

I don’t know whether or not the “overpaid paper-shufflers at the district” actually have yard services, but I do have to agree with the rest of the rant.  What a boneheaded idea to require that you water your yard on the weekend.  That’s the only time most of us regular folks have to work in the yard.

Filed under: Florida, Jacksonville,

Citizens, but not Businesses, Required to Conserve Water

It seems the St. Johns River Water Management District is a little two-faced lately.

The District recently adopted new rules that will require citizens to carefully watch when and how they water their lawns. That conservation could be critical to avoiding the shortages of ground water forecasted as the region grows during the next 20 years – at least according to the District.

However, according to an Orlando Sentinel editorial today, when it comes to protecting Florida’s ground water, the District’s preference for permitting new businesses to use Florida’s ground water supply wins out over conservation.

Despite the District’s own warnings that Central Florida’s ground water supply can’t accomodate new withdrawals past 2013, and the District encouraging water withdrawals from the St. Johns River (an idea unpopular with many),  District staff have readily agreed to give Niagara Bottling Company a 5-year permit to withdraw 500,000 gallons a day from Central Florida’s ground water supply so Niagara can bottle the water and sell it. 

The District’s two-facedness on the issue of ground water conservation makes it seem all the more pointless for citizens to use less water, when the District is still giving thousands upon millions of gallons of ground water away – 912,500,000 gallons to be exact – to Niagara Bottling Company for free.

Filed under: Florida, Florida Politics, Jacksonville, , ,

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