The Help Save the Apalachicola River Group and the Florida Wildlife Federation yesterday moved to intervene in a legal challenge an Alabama industry association brought in February of this year. The challenge is scheduled for hearing in Tallahassee from August 18 to August 31. The Tri Rivers Waterway Development Association contested the Florida Department of Environmental Protection's decision to put conditions on dredging activities on the Apalachicola River to protect the environment and fish resources in the area. The Department's position is supported by the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission and the Northwest Florida Water Management District.
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund -- the nation's largest public interest environmental law firm -- intervened in the case on behalf of the two groups to protect the River, associated swamps, and fish harmed by the Corps' dredging project.
"This public works project destroys an ecosystem for corporate special interests and taxpayers are being soaked in the process," said Ansley Samson, an attorney with Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund.
"This challenge is not about the Corps' maintenance dredging projects in Franklin County near the city of Apalachicola," said Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, a statewide conservation and outdoor recreation organization with 42,000 members and supporters. "This is about the Corps' dredging and spoiling practices on the main stem of the Apalachicola River. Congress needs to take a hard look at justification for this public works project, but in the short run the Corps must do its dredging and filling in a less destructive manner."
"Floridians have the right to protect our fish, wildlife and natural places," said Marilyn Blackwell, president of the Help Save the Apalachicola River Group. "That's what we're doing in this case."