Everyone from the Atlanta Journal-Constition to the Palm Beach Post to the Ocala StarBanner considers the EPA letter to FERC to be of great significance. WWALS agrees, and has filed a motion to ask the judge to take notice in WWALS v. Sabal Trail & DEP.
§ 373.414 Florida Statutes, begins:
(1) As part of an applicant’s demonstration that an activity regulated under this part will not be harmful to the water resources or will not be inconsistent with the overall objectives of the district, the governing board or the department shall require the applicant to provide reasonable assurance that state water quality standards applicable to waters as defined in s. 403.031(13) will not be violated and reasonable assurance that such activity in, on, or over surface waters or wetlands, as delineated in s. 373.421(1), is not contrary to the public interest. However, if such an activity significantly degrades or is within an Outstanding Florida Water, as provided by department rule, the applicant must provide reasonable assurance that the proposed activity will be clearly in the public interest.
Not just “not contrary to the public interest”. For an Outstanding Florida Water applicant (Sabal Trail) “must provide reasonable assurance that the proposed activity will be clearly in the public interest.” The Suwannee River is an Outstanding Florida Water. And the EPA letter is pretty good evidence that Sabal Trail did not provide such reasonable assurance.