Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving weekend blogging

The Miccosukee Tribe of Indians was certainly thankful to Judge Seitz on Thanksgiving Day. Just hours before we all headed home on Wednesday to defrost our turkeys, Judge Seitz issued an order stating that she was “convinced that the Tribe will succeed on the merits” after a two-day preliminary injunction hearing last week seeking to halt construction on 21-mile “Loop Road” in the Everglades. The DBR’s article is here. Judge Seitz found that “the Government failed to comply” with environmental laws prior to starting the project. Michael Tein represented the Tribe at the hearing and accused the National Parks Service of a “cover up.” Mike produced Interior Department notes and memos indicating that government viewed public disapproval of the project as a “high risk” that would be handled with an “internal memorandum to file” instead of the full-blown public environmental study that federal environmental laws require. Apparently, the government was going to use money earmarked back in 2005 for “emergency Hurricane Wilma relief,” to pay for repaving the road, which Mike said had no hurricane damage. Mike’s brief charting out the alleged “cover up” is a fun read and I will post it shortly. After the hearing, the government agreed to delay the project another two weeks to allow for additional briefing. Judge Seitz said she would rule by December 14.

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