Florida looks to U.S. Supreme Court in water war

Florida looks to U.S. Supreme Court in water war

Ron DeSantis (The News Service of Florida) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (News Service of Florida) — Warning that a special master’s recommendation would “spell doom” for the Apalachicola River, Florida wants the U.S. Supreme Court to require Georgia to share more water in a river system that links the two states. Florida filed a 65-page brief Monday asking the Supreme Court to reject a December recommendation by Special Master Paul Kelly, who said Florida has not adequately shown that Georgia’s water use caused problems in the Apalachicola River and Apalachicola Bay. In the brief, Florida attorneys attacked Kelly’s findings and said Apalachicola Bay — and its iconic oyster industry — suffered from not enough water flowing south in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system. The brief argued that “Georgia’s insatiable upstream consumption (of water) has decimated Apalachicola’s oyster fisheries.” “The harm to the Bay’s oyster fisheries is undeniable. Apalachicola is renowned across America for its oysters, which account for 90% of Florida’s oyster harvest and 10% of the nation’s,” the brief said. “What’s more, oysters — and oystering — have created a distinct way of life in Apalachicola passed down from generation-to-generation; whole communities depend on the fisheries for their economic livelihood. The oyster is to Apalachicola what the lobster is to many New England towns.” But Kelly, in siding with Georgia, wrote in December that mismanagement by Florida contributed to the oyster industry’s collapse. That included Florida’s lifting oyster harvesting restrictions after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster caused fears of contamination in the bay. “Georgia does not contest that the oyster fishery suffered significant harm; rather, it argues that the collapse resulted from Florida’s mismanagement, and insofar as low flows caused the collapse, those low flows were predominantly caused by drought, not Georgia’s consumptive use,” Kelly wrote. “I agree and conclude […]

Original Post cbs12.com

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