Title: Cap the Water Combat
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002438/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cap the Water Combat
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Times
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Cap the Water Combat, 8/19/1995
General Note: Box 10, Folder 19 ( SF Water Wars - 1975-2000 ), Item 14
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00002438
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text







TIMES m SATURDAY; AUGUST 19, 1995 *

-DIT LS


the water combat


Pasco County can barely afford to oper-
ate 'its parks and libraries. Its sheriffs
department is understaffed and many of its
roads are long overdue for expansion. Mon-
ey is scarce, until it comes to fees for
private attorneys to wage war for water.
Suddenly, the sky is the limit.
Concerns about environmental damage
from well-field pumping in Pasco are just
field, but the costs of hiring private lawyers
to litigate are not. Tampa Bay can solve its
water supply problems and protect its envi-
ronment without fattening private attor-
neys at taxpayers'" expense.
Pinellas has nothing to show for wasting
$1.5-milli on private water lawyers. Pas-
co commisoners should know better than
to make the same mistake. Unfortunately,
they are mArching headlong down the same
path. Last month Pasco approved a
$100,000 contract for the services of Clyde
Hobby, a politically connected Pasco attor-
ney. Hobby rhymes with lobby, which is
what he plans to do in Tallahassee. Pasco
commissioners also agreed to hire Fred
Reeves, a private water attorney who
joined Hobby's firm, for $110,000.
Reeves and Hobby produced their first
project Tuesday, a 10-page report that
suggests the county could hire a panel of
water experts to testify that well-field
pumping and environmental degradation in
Pasco are cause and effect. Hobby and
Reeves said expert testimony will be neces-
sary to litigate permit renewals for well
fields in the county. They were paid
$18,800 for this bit of advice. They will
receive an additional $3,600 to round up a
panel of water mavens. They will hit pay
dirt if Pasco commissioners decide to liti-


gate. The estimated cost of challenging all
the well-field permits in Pasco exceeds
$600,000.
Large sections of Pasco have been se-
verely damaged by drought and excessive
pumping. Entire lakes and wetlands have
vanished. Much of this damage might have
been avoided had the Southwest Florida
Water Management District (Swiftmud)
imposed wise pumping limits years ago and
forced the development of new water re-
sources. That is the ugly history of Swift-
mud in Pasco but it might be changing.
District officials, supported by recently ap-
pointed governing board members, say
they intend to correct past mistakes. They
say they have data to link pumping and
environmental damage. When well-field
permits come up for renewal, they say, they
will advocate turning down the pumps,
restoring the environment and developing
new resources.
Swiftmud demonstrated that it is seri-
ous about environmental protection last
year when it issued an emergency order to
reduce the maximum average daily with-
drawal from the region's well fields. More
substantial measures are necessary, how-
ever, and Pasco officials are understandably
skeptical. Instead of spending a fortune on
legal combat, however, Pasco would be
wiser to offer its assistance to Swiftmud
and explore cooperative strategies with
district officials. Appearances suggest that
Pasco County and Swiftmud share objec-
tives. If so, cooperation is not just cheaper
it's more likely to reduce pumping, estab-
lish new resources and set Tampa Bay on a
course toward a sustainable water supply.


Cap




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