Federal Judge Rules Again to Protect Florida’s Rare Habitat and Communities
February 1, 2009
Sierra Club and allies’ legal efforts lead to the protection of Florida’s wildlife and communities. For the third time, on January 30, 2009, a Miami federal judge ruled that the US Army Corp of Engineers was wrong to allow mining companies to dig massive rock pits near Miami-Dade County’s largest drinking water supply. The judge concluded that the Corps failed to consider the environmental and health risks of mining near the Everglades - the largest subtropical wetlands in the US that is home to a number of rare species – and the Northwest well field that supplies water to an estimated one million people. The decision will likely impact the industry’s plan to excavate thousands of acres and represents a huge win for Sierra Club’s campaigns to protect resilient habitats and communities.
March 23, 2006
Over half of the original wetland areas in southern Florida have been destroyed, making the Everglades National Park the last stop for an extraordinary number of rare and sensitive animals and plants. In 1999, recognizing the immediate threats posed to the park by unchecked development and spurred on by a congressional mandate, the Corps of Engineers developed the Everglades Restoration Plan, which seeks to repair the damage wrought upon the Everglades by utilizing adjacent areas outside the park to help restore the natural hydrology within the park. However, just as this plan was being implemented, the Corps decided to allow private open-pit hard rock mining on over 5,000 acres of Lakebelt wetlands, an area deemed critical to successful restoration. Sierra Club, joined by other environmental groups, went to court to stop this ill-conceived plan and to protect drinking water supplies in the Miami-Dade region. In March 2006, we scored a victory in the campaign when U.S. District Judge William Hoeveler ruled that the permits were faulty and defective. The judge will hold a hearing in May to make a final decision on what to do about mining activities while the permits and environmental studies are redone. The ruling is a huge victory for the imperiled park and the animals that depend on it.
Details and Documents:
Order of Judge William M. Hoeveler
January 30, 2008, United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
Judge again blasts Army Corps of Engineers for actions in Miami-Dade
February 2, 2009 by Curtis Morgan, Miami Herald
See other "Promoting Resilient Habitats" cases.