State Bar choking
m At issue are orders by Ed de water laiW
la Parte telling a consultant to
find that pumping would not
harm the environment.
by JEAN HELLER /
TAMPA The Florida Bar is investi-
gating a Tampa lawyer who ordered a
consultant studying the effects of well
.field pumping on nearby environments to
prove the impacts were negligible.
Linda Lyman, manager of the Bar's
Ethics and Grievance Office in Tampa,
confirmed Tuesday that a file has been
opened on Ed de la Parte, who has served
as the water attorney for the region's
largest water supplier and for Pinellas
The Bar initiated the inquiry based on
a story in Tuesday's Times, Lyman said.
The Bar will attempt to determine if
de la Parte violated any of its rules of
ethics or codes of conduct when, on at
least two occasions, he ordered a Tampa
consulting firm to prove that the pumping
of ground water was not responsible for
nearby environmental damage. The firm
was working at public expense.
The first step, Lyman said,would be to
ask de la Parte to explain his actions.
"Based on his response, we will decide
what further action, is appropriate," Ly-
De la Parte was asked for comment on
the Bar's action but did not return the
However Pick Talley, director of Pi-.
nellas County Utilities, called the Times
According to Florida Administrative'
Code, Talley said, applicants cannot obtain '
consumptive-use water permits if they
cannot demonstrate.that the use "will not
cause adverse environmental impacts."
De la Parte was simply communicating'
to the consultant what the law required,"
"I object in the strongest manner to
your characterization of Ed de la Parte's
motives, intentions and instructions to our,
consultant and to its implications to the.
integrity in which Pinellas County ap-
Pinellas utilities director Pick
Talley, left, says a Times story
about Ed de la Parte was unfair.
preaches the defense of the wel-
fare of its public," Talley said.
On April 8, 1986, when he
represented the West Coast Re-
gional Water Supply Authority, de '
la Part wrote a letter to an official
of Biological Research Associates
in Tampa in which he quoted a
portion of the code cited by Talley.
De la Parte then added:
"Your report must show that
the water table impact will not
significantly and adversely effect
(sic) vegetation outside the well
In July 1995, in a memorandum
prepared for Biological Research
Associates and others, de la Parte
defined a portion of the consul-
tant's responsibility as "proving
that well field withdrawals are not
the primary cause of the environ-
At this point, de la Parte was
representing Pinellas County.
The Bar investigation is likely
to try to determine whether de la
Parte was only defining for the
consultant the requirements of the
law or was instructing the re-,
searchers .to misrepresent the re-
suits of their studies, if necessary.
The two documents became--
public Monday at the beginning of
the fourth week of proceedings in a
legal case in which St. Petersburg-
De la arte objected to the
introduction of the 1995
memorandum, which is
but was overruled,
and West Coast are challenging,a-
decision by the Southwest Florida
Water Management District to de-
ny applications for four well field
permit renewals. Pinellas County
is also a party to the action.
De la Parte objected to the
introduction of the 1995 memo-
randum, which is marked "Confi-.
dential," but was overruled. He did.
not object to the introduction later
of the 1986 letter.
Mr. Richard Callahan. Jr.
Biological Researcb CRAWSA
Pout Office Box 15356
Tamua, Florida 33684
Re, Consunptive oe grmit Mos. 204290 (Cross Bar Well-
field) and 203650 (Cypres* Crek Wallfitld).
It was a real pleasure me .ng with you on March 14, 19IS.
I am looking forward to working with you and your firm on this
hel purpose of this letter is to cr ify what is expected of
ryu wlh te pect to the questions prepared by the Southwest
Floids atr Management VLtrict Staff regarding the cr055 Bar
consuw mpta er api o 1 h-L tAo= y r-es t ou
your report mst show that the water table impact will not
significantly and adversely offset vegetation outside the
wellfield boundaries. X am sure that uon reading tbl Leatter
your first question will be what is a significant d advrs
effect. z me o ecolIoist, but in mind a significant
adverse Impact L one w deeroy a significant acraqeg of
aablewetands. A i innt vegetation pei
de I& PART, GILNERT &
dward P. d lar Parte, Jr.
Ed de la Parte wrote this letter on April 8, 1986, when he
represented the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority.