David Guest's Blog Posts

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

David Guest's blog


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Earthjustice on Twitter

Featured Campaigns

Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

ABOUT EARTHJUSTICE'S BLOG

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

Learn more about Earthjustice.

David Guest is the Managing Attorney in Earthjustice's Florida office. His countless legal battles have, in one way or another, been all about water. David's motivation to protect Florida's water comes from years of running boats in the state's rivers and lakes, which convinced him that waterways are many people's spiritual connection to nature. When he's not busy keeping Florida's waterways slime-free, David enjoys boating on Lake Miccosukee and watching the birds roost at sunset. His time spent wading waist-deep in alligator-infested waters and living out of dingy motel rooms during months-long trials is validated by the knowledge that, as Julius Caesar once said, "Great battles are decided by trivial events."

View David Guest's blog posts
14 October 2009, 4:04 PM
Polluters join ag commissioner in fighting against clean water
Algae slimes Christopher Point Creek

It is hard to imagine anyone defending the polluters that are turning Florida's waters green and slimy. But, hey, money talks.

At long last, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is agreeing to set legal, enforceable limits on such nutrients as phosphorous and nitrogen, which are poisoning Florida's public waters. EPA's historic decision settles the lawsuit we filed in July 2008.

Now the state's biggest polluters are trying to block the settlement. Big Agriculture, sewage plants, utilities, and phosphate miners have filed legal challenges to try to force the EPA to back down. And the state's Agriculture Commissioner, Charles Bronson, is using taxpayer dollars to side with the polluters and against clean water.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
02 October 2009, 12:05 PM
Uses tax dollars in resisting efforts to clean up waterways
Agricultural runoff creates toxic algae bloom in Florida waters

 It is shameful that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson is siding with the state’s worst polluters to fight against cleaning up algae-choked waters poisoned by agricultural runoff.

There are toxic algae blooms all over the state, water treatment plants are closing due to nutrient poisoning, and yet Bronson directs the state to work for the polluters and against the people. 

In August, in a historic move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a consent decree in which it agreed to set legal limits for the widespread nutrient poisoning that triggers harmful algae blooms, like the one above, in Florida waters.

But, instead of working to make the public's water cleaner and safer, Bronson is spending tax dollars to help special interests like the Florida Pulp and Paper Association and Big Agriculture block the clean water settlement. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services filed a motion to intervene in the case on the polluters' side.
 

3 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
15 September 2009, 2:35 PM
Oil's money men lubricate efforts to open up state's waters to drilling

News that "a secretive group of powerful legislators, business groups and Texas oil companies has been laying the groundwork" to open Florida's shores to oil and gas drilling should make all of us sit up and pay attention.
A story by St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald delves into the machinations of the "Florida Energy Associates," a shadowy group that "identifies itself only by saying it is financed by a group of independent oil producers."

These mysterious oilmen—are they Floridians? Americans? Foreign governments? —apparently have fat profits to spend. They've hired lobbyists, public relations experts, a financial consultant and a pollster to get Florida to sell drilling leases in state waters within ten miles off Florida's Gulf Coast.

15 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
17 June 2009, 3:26 AM
 

A disappointing decision by the federal appeals court in Atlanta will legalize pollution in many American drinking water supplies, and we have the former Bush administration to thank for it.

The case goes back to 2002, when we sued, on behalf of the Florida Wildlife Federation, to get the South Florida Water Management District to stop pumping contaminated drainage canal water into Lake Okeechobee, one of the biggest drinking water sources in Florida, and the second biggest lake in the United States. For years, the district has been disposing of contaminated runoff from urban areas and industrial-scale sugar and vegetable farms by "backpumping" its untreated waters from drainage canals into Lake Okeechobee.

Since the Clean Water Act doesn't allow anyone to add pollutants to lakes and rivers without a permit that limits pollutants to safe levels, we argued that the Water District needed a federal permit to pump filthy water into the public lake.

2 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
21 May 2009, 9:07 AM
 

One of the most difficult things we face every legislative season is a bill that looks good on the surface but turns out to be rotten at the core.

We are urging Florida Gov. Charlie Crist to veto just such a bill, deceptively titled, "Protection of Urban and Residential Environments and Water Act," right now. This bill – Florida Senate Bill 494 - appears to do something to help the environment, when in fact, it makes things worse.

In short, the bill will make it harder for cities and counties to enact strong local laws to protect waterways from fertilizer pollution. This is critical stuff down here in the land of emerald green lawns and golf courses, where blue water is turning murky and underwater springs are bubbling up with fertilizer-laden water.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
29 April 2009, 4:25 PM
 

We’re breathing a cautious sigh of relief here in Florida on the issue of offshore drilling. A dangerous bill that would have lifted the state’s offshore drilling ban appears to be dead. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

Our state Senate President told reporters today that the Legislature has run out of time to hear the offshore oil issue. The bill passed the Florida House of Representatives 70-43 on Monday. If it isn’t heard in the Senate, the bill will die.

1 Comment   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
22 April 2009, 12:50 AM
 

Talk about a great Earth Day present! Florida Power and Light and Kitson & Partners made a stunning announcement April 9, saying they plan to build the nation's first solar-powered city—a cluster of homes, offices and factories less than 20 miles from Fort Myers on Florida's Gulf Coast.

What a turnaround. Just two years ago, we were fighting FPL's proposal to build America's largest coal-fired power plant in Glades County, near the Everglades. We celebrated when the Florida Public Service Commission rejected FPL's plan, citing concern about global warming pollutants for the first time.

Now it looks like Florida could become the "Sunshine State" for real.

6 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
18 March 2009, 11:18 AM
 

Apparently, the sight of toxic algae blooms spreading across South Florida's public waterways last year wasn't enough to convince the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to do the right thing and toughen standards for nutrient pollution.

So on March 9, we filed suit in U.S. District Court to compel the EPA to set more protective pollution limits for Lake Okeechobee and its tributaries. Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake wholly within the continental United States, second only to Lake Michigan.

9 Comments   /   Read more >>
View David Guest's blog posts
06 March 2009, 5:09 PM
 

Down here in Florida, we are continuing our fight against the giant, destructive phosphate strip mines that trash our landscapes and pollute our water.

Our latest legal battle aims at some incredible strong-arm corporate tactics that Mosaic Phosphate is using to shut out local citizens and get its local land-use approvals to mine in the watersheds of the gorgeous Peace River in Southwest Florida. Read the full story.

View David Guest's blog posts
17 February 2009, 6:35 PM
 

One of the last dirty coal power plants on tap in the Sunshine State could get cleaner, thanks to new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Lisa Jackson and her wise decision to take another look at regulating carbon dioxide emissions under the Clean Air Act.

4 Comments   /   Read more >>