1. OCKLAWAHA RIVER
The first position PCEC adopted on an environmental issue was supporting restoration of the Ocklawaha River. Since that time we have put together educational materials and events for the public and legislators; funded scientific studies; testified at public hearings; taken legal actions to prevent drinking water withdrawals from rivers that are already suffering from reduced flow, such as the Ocklawaha River; helped prevent passage of bills whose intent was to prevent restoration of the Ocklawaha River; and helped develop ecotourism related to a restored river. For more information:
G-P Pipeline PCEC extensively studied the issue of Georgia Pacific diverting its industrial effluent from Rice Creek to the St. Johns River. We obtained a professional review of G-P's study, held two forums with representatives from all sides of the issue and representatives from the permitting agencies involved, and talked with scientists at St. Johns River Water Management District, an agency that recommended against piping directly to the St. Johns River.
Our conclusions were that Rice Creek was still providing treatment to G-P's industrial effluent, bypassing Rice Creek would not restore Rice Creek, the pipeline was twice the capacity required for G-P's effluent, attracting manatees into Rice Creek would endanger their health, piping the industrial effluent directly to the St. Johns River would increase pollution in the St. Johns River, and that G-P's money would be better spent making further process and treatment improvements that would actually reduce pollution rather than merely redirect it. Our work resulted in the capacity of the pipeline being reduced. In July 2012 we joined legal action to stop the pipeline, a Petition for Writ of Mandamus that is to be heard by the Leon County Circuit Court.
Seminole Electric Pipeline PCEC objected to creating another pipeline that would dump additional industrial effluent from the Seminole Electric power plant, instead of using Best Available Control Technology. We obtained a settlement agreement that required Seminole Electric to: increase monitoring from quarterly to hourly, install an automatic shutoff valve that stops all discharge when the conductance (salinity) of the effluent rises above the permitted level, and spend $40,000 to educate the public about the St. Johns River. To satisfy this agreement, Seminole Electric donated $40,000 to the City of Palatka to complete restoration of historic water works structures at the Water Works Environmental Education Center, a public facility with a focus on the St. Johns River.