A decision regarding the Koch brothers’ illegal “mixing zones” in the St Johns River is now in the hands of a Tallahassee Circuit Court Judge.   April 7, 2014 (yesterday) was the deadline for all parties to file their proposed orders in our case before Judge Francis in Leon County court.  As you may remember from my updates over the past couple of years, the case revolves around the highly illegal discharge permit that FDEP gave the Koch brothers (Georgia-Pacific) in 2012 to discharge up to 47 million gallons per day of chronically toxic, dioxin-contaminated industrial waste into the St Johns River.  The discharge is allowed to carry up to 17,500 pounds of solids every day that are smothering the grass beds and benthic life on the bottom of the river around the 1043 foot pipe.  We sued the Board of Trustees (Governor and Cabinet) for allowing this discharge and its five “mixing zones” to begin flowing without a permit (finally getting a permit in 2012) and never getting reviewed for whether it is contrary to the public interest, as is required by the Florida Constitution.  The pipe itself received an easement but the submerged land beyond the pipe that is essentially dead now from the tons of dioxin-contaminated solids getting dumped there every day, are not covered by an easement, nor did the Koch brothers have to pay one penny for the land and water they are making useless to man and/or animal except as a dumping ground for pulp mill sludge.

We have no idea how long it will take Judge Francis to rule nor do we have high hopes that he will rule in our favor.  He was appointed to the bench by Jeb Bush and has handled several high-profile, public interest cases oner the past decade or so.  He has never ruled in the public interest.  AND since the Koch brothers intervened in our case, well . . . the chances of a Republican judge going against the Koch brothers are slim and none.

However, we are not disheartened.  Our message to the Koch brothers, who are killing three rivers and the Big Bend area of the Gulf right now from their filthy mills, remains intact:  YOU WILL NEVER KILL OUR RIVERS WITHOUT A FIGHT KOCH!  Yes they are powerful, spend more money on campaigns than anyone and have most of our Republican politicians in Florida under their thumbs, but we can overcome these anti-freedom, anti-democracy tyrants.  Stay tuned for more in the near future!

About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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