Thursday, April 01, 2010

This land is your land, this land is my land.

In a case filed when I was in high school, the Chief agreed with the Miccosukees yesterday that their lands are being polluted while Florida and the United States figure out how to fix the Everglades. From what I can tell, Special Master John Barkett had recommended a few years back that a reservoir be built. But then the Governor announced a plan to buy up all of U.S. Sugar’s land, which would be even better than a reservoir. Then the economy tanked, and Florida could no longer afford to buy lots of vacant land. Plus, as the Times suggested earlier this month, the whole idea is economically dubious.
Florida Everglades.jpgThe whole matter of restoring the Everglades is, from what I can tell from these filings, really complicated and involves science and phosphorous levels and a case about a permit before Judge Middlebrooks that I don’t even want to get into. Anyway, yesterday, the Chief said, enough is enough; let’s get on with it:
The Court has afforded a good deal of time for the parties to pursue the land deal and determine its viability before compelling the construction of the EAA A-1 Reservoir. Indeed, the Court is only now adopting the Special Master’s Report of July 5, 2006. ... Circumstances have changed despite the best efforts of Governor Crist and the State Parties to materialize a deal that would benefit Everglades Restoration, beyond the benefits of the EAA A-1 Reservoir. The Tribe, however, has convinced this Court with its practical arguments that their lands will ultimately be sacrificed to nutrient pollution and the time has come for the Court to require the parties to abide by commitments made in this litigation.
Still, construction may not be exactly imminent. Citing federalism concerns and noting that technology may open avenues that were unavailable in 2006, the Chief noted that the parties could file 60(b)(5) motions and that Barkett could revise his recommendation.

Dexter Lehtinen represents the Tribe.

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