Monday, December 17, 2007

UF law professor on Florida's water woes


Today marked another meeting between officials from Florida, Georgia, and Alabama
in the 18-year water war between the states. The Miami Herald reported today on the devastation to wildlife in Florida being caused by the lowering water levels in panhandle rivers. In addition to fading shrimp and oyster harvests, salt water is parching the tupelo trees that bees use to make honey. The story references Florida's assertion that plans allowing for the reduced water flow allow far too many endangered purple bankclimber and fat threeridge mussels downstream of the dam to be dried out and killed.

The Orlando Sentinel published this excellent piece by University of Florida Law Professor Christine A. Klein, who teaches water law and natural resources law, on the dispute. Now I'll admit some bias in that (1) I'm a UF law grad and (2) a panhandle resident, but I especially enjoyed Professor Klein's dismantling of the whole people verses animals argument. Hopefully, one day people will start to see that when the "choice" is dumbed down to this level, the results are usually disastrous for both animals and people.

What the people like Georgia's Governor Sonny Perdue, who has latched onto the people verses animals argument, fail to understand is that people don't benefit by putting the animals at risk. Georgia's water use is not sustainable. Killing off endangered mussels is only the first warning sign of worse things to come. Of course, Perdue has taken the lead in the praying for rain department... hopefully he has a plan B.

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