Defending Springs in the Courtroom:
An Update on the BMAP legal challenge
FSC's legal challenge will determine the future of Volusia Blue Springs, Silver Springs, Rainbow Springs, the springs of the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers and many other impaired Florida waters.
Our legal challenge to protect and restore fourteen impaired Outstanding Florida Springs (OFS) took another step forward on in November. Nearly two years after our challenge was heard by the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, FSC member groups including Ichetucknee Alliance, Our Santa Fe River, Rainbow River Conservation, Save the Manatee Club, Sierra Club, and Silver Springs Alliance, as well as individuals Jim Tatum and Thomas Greenhalgh have filed an appeal in the First District Court of Appeals to overturn ineffective and statutorily deficient Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs). You can read the entire appeal HERE.
The outcome of this unprecedented legal challenge will determine the future of Volusia Blue Springs, Silver Springs, Rainbow Springs, the springs of the Santa Fe and Suwannee Rivers and many other impaired Florida waters.
BMAPs are Florida’s only regulatory program to reduce pollution and achieve water quality standards. There is no Plan B. That is why it is essential that the BMAPs drafted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) meet the minimum requirements under state law and provide a credible blueprint for achieving water quality goals. That is why we must continue to use the courts to make certain that BMAPs are written with sound science and intentions to succeed.
Unfortunately, the current BMAPs for Outstanding Florida Springs adopted by DEP are designed to fail:
They fail to account for any future pollution to Florida’s waters.
They fail to allocate reductions in nitrogen loading to categories of pollution sources.
They fail to meaningfully address pollution from agriculture, the largest pollution source to Florida springs.
Most importantly, they fail to achieve water quality goals within twenty years.
These water quality restoration plans are so deficient that many Outstanding Florida Springs could be more polluted at the end of the 20-year plans than they are today. So we, along with our partners, continue to the legal fight.