Judge Sullivan's Ruling Proves Our Point
By Jim Kalvin President & CEO - Standing Watch

We have been saying since our inception (merely two years ago) that the "manatee protection"
initiative by Save the Manatee Club had more to do with politics and money than real manatee protection. We have even said that the efforts of SMC will have negative long-term effects for the creatures, as real protection measures & science take a back-seat to public grand-standing, lawsuits, and non-profit fund-raising efforts.

"It's about saving the manatees. That's what we're talking about." trumpets the Judge in a story printed on 8/2.

Could it be not been advised of the actual state of the species. He has not been told of the dozen or so areas in the State that see several hundred animals at a time during cold spells - and that these over-wintering areas are out of food. He has not been told that the over-grazing of our sea-grass beds is having dire negative effects on our native fish species. He has not been told that, as mothers with calves have to swim farther from the warm water areas for food each day, their calves are not up to the task - and perinatal mortality is a huge concern. He has not been told that the range of the manatee has been augmented, via our thermal pollution outflows, and that the animals now regularly inhabit the waters of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Lousiana. He has not been told that Puerto Rico now has a manatee issue - where there has never been one before - as the animals are spreading to the south as well.

Or maybe I'm just being na´ve. Could it be that a Judge - presiding over such a high profile case - has not done his home-work on the issue before him? Has all of the attention to the issue - including an amendment to the Manatee Sanctuary Act, which passed the Florida House and Senate by unanimous votes - escaped him? Is he blind to the abuse of the Endangered Species Act by the extreme so-called "environmental community" in general, and attorney Eric Glitzenstein in particular?

No, I don't believe that the Judge is mis-informed, or ignorant of the facts of the status of the species. I also don't buy the notion that he is unaware of the ramifications of the issue as it relates to national or Florida politics. As well, he is much too intelligent to be blind to the crippling of our Federal agency by the hundreds of environmental lawsuits brought against the people of America by attorney Glitzenstein. These lawsuits have been filed on behalf of every charitable non-profit so-called "environmental" organization in the Country.

Actually, I believe that it is fairly obvious that the Judge's ruling, and his statements, are proof that the issue is really about money, control over our growth and development, and politics. I'm no NASA scientist, but what I see is a Clinton-Gore clone exacting revenge on a Bush administration in Washington, and a Bush administration in Florida. I see a Judge holding Gale Norton hostage over a settlement agreement signed in the waning days of the Clinton administration - by a Clinton-appointed Department of Interior. I see a Judge asking Save the Manatee Club to fill in the amount on a blank check that he intends to hand them at tax-payer expense.

All of that while, sadly, the real issues of manatee protection remain unanswered. It seems to be "politics as usual," and as long as the people of Florida are willing to sit by and watch it happen - you can expect more of the same.



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