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Florida

Fans of unEarthed know Earthjustice has been sharing (and sometimes breaking) news on our blog this year. Which stories posted in 2011 generated the most reads?

Here is our Top Ten Countdown for the year:

It’s not every day that a wild animal gets a lucky break, but a few months back that’s exactly what happened to Karsten, a peaceful loggerhead sea turtle that was released off of Sombrero Beach in the Florida Keys after months of rehabilitation.

Intro: This is the first in a series of Q and As on Earthjustice’s oceans work, which works to prevent habitat loss and overfishing, as well as reduce the impacts of climate change on the ocean. Earthjustice’s Oceans Program Director Steve Roady has been litigating cases that help protect our oceans for more than a decade. Check out earthjustice.org/oceans for more information.

<The Earthjustice office in Florida just released this statement on a major fish kill off the state's coastline>

It’s ironic that, on the very day the Florida Chamber announces it wants to fight limits on sewage, fertilizer and manure pollution, there’s a massive fish kill off Sarasota, Sanibel Island and Charlotte County caused by red tide—red tide that’s fueled by sewage, manure, and fertilizer pollution.

As I write this, half of the 75-mile long Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida is covered by nauseating green slime. It’s a heartbreaking sight – dead fish wash up along the banks, and waterfront homes have a pricey view of a stinking mess.

One dismayed homeowner told me he plans to petition local government to lower his property valuation because his waterfront lifestyle is now so gross that no one would ever want to live there.

You decide. Check out this picture of Florida's waterways—choked with algae—and choose which of the following quotes best describes the photo. Both speakers were referring to attempts in the state legislature to keep the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the amount of nutrients flowing from utilities, industry and large-scale farms into Florida's waterways. The nutrients feed an explosion of algae.

Coming from an Irish family and working for Earthjustice, I have an affection for green that is DNA-deep. But, I know the difference between the green of nature and the green of greed -- and nowhere is that difference so starkly obvious as in Florida. An explosion of green algae slime, fed by uncontrolled agricultural and sewage runoff, is taking over that state's famed waterways. It's murdering fish by the thousands, stinking up the air, fouling everything it touchs, and preventing recreation use.

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