Help oppose foolish Florida water lawsuit 2023-02-23

You can help stop a foolish Florida water lawsuit.

[FL Atty Genl, WWALS at Alapaha River Rise]
FL Atty Genl, WWALS at Alapaha River Rise

Craig Pittman, Florida Phoenix, February 23, 2023, Florida attorney general tries to make it easier to pave over wetlands: We all should object to Ashley Moody joining this anti-environment lawsuit

I’ve excerpted a few high points from his fine rant:

There’s a case going on right now involving Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody that is more outrageous than entertaining.

[Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody attending the designation of Sen. Kathleen Passidomo as the next Senate President on Oct. 19, 2021. Credit: Danielle J. Brown]
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody attending the designation of Sen. Kathleen Passidomo as the next Senate President on Oct. 19, 2021. Credit: Danielle J. Brown

Moody, a Plant City native, is a former federal prosecutor, judge, high school cheerleading captain, and all-around overachiever. She was even the Strawberry Festival Queen.

As the state’s chief legal officer, she’s got her hands full. The A.G.’s office is supposed to protect consumers from fraud, enforce the state’s antitrust laws, go after drug traffickers and gangs, represent the prosecution in criminal appeals, and issue formal legal opinions at the request of public officials.

When Moody ran for attorney general in 2018, she vowed that she wouldn’t politicize the Cabinet-level office. The A.G.’s role, she said during a televised debate, “is not to advance a political agenda or pick topics that are personal to me and use the office to sue anybody I can come up with.”

The problem lawsuit is about Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS):

In December 2022, the Biden administration unveiled a new definition [of WOTUS], one designed to fix the errors of the Trump rule while also meeting the requirements of various court rulings of the past. The new rule “restores protections to waterways that have a ‘significant nexus’ to navigable U.S. waters,” according to Reuters.

Of course, the developers, oil industry, and Big Agriculture are not fans of saving the swamps and opposed the new definition.

Taking their cue from these corporate masters, Moody and 23 other members of the RAGA army — I call ‘em the Raga-naroks — filed suit last week to toss it out.

In the suit, the Raga-naroks argue that the new wetland definition is “unusually aggressive” and would harm “ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders and other landowners.” Apparently “water-drinkers” don’t count.

I asked Moody’s staff to explain why she enlisted Florida in this kooky crusade.

“Florida already has strong laws to protect our waterways, and we cannot allow the federal government to usurp the states’ traditional power over their own waters,” Moody spokesman Whitney Ray told me.

As I have pointed out before, Florida’s “Clean Waterways Act” is a sham, a law designed to fool the public into thinking we’re stopping pollution while not requiring the polluters to lift a finger. Everything in it is voluntary.

We might as well insert “JK” for “just kidding!” after the first word of the law’s name.

Royal Gardner, Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport and co-director of Stetson’s Institute for Biodiversity Law and Policy, said:

“The lawsuit is a waste of taxpayer money and only underscores that the state is not serious about providing clean water for its citizens,” Gardner told me.

He also answered a question I hadn’t asked, but it’s one that any good lawyer would be wondering about: What happens if these anti-environment A.G.s win?

“If the lawsuit is successful, it’s unclear what the practical implications would be,” he told me. “The immediate effect is that we would revert back to the pre-2015 regime, which is currently being applied by the EPA and is very similar to the new rule.”

What you can do:

Is Moody’s move to join this foolish lawsuit a way to give the DEP cover for continuing to kowtow to developers? It wouldn’t surprise me.

But that, dear reader, is where I think you can do something.

You know that scene in the movie “And Justice For All” when Al Pacino’s angry defense attorney flips out and starts shouting “You’re out of order” at everyone? I think it’s time we tell Ashley Moody that she’s out of order.

Drop her a line at Office of the Attorney General, State of Florida, PL-01, The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050. Or you can email her using the form found on her website at

Tell her you think she stinks for doing what the developers and Big Ag want instead of what’s best for Florida’s environment and citizens.

Use the subject line of “I Object!” That should work. It always does on TV.

[Alapaha River Rise, 14:19:24, 30.4388490, -83.0895792]
Alapaha River Rise, 2022-02-05 14:19:24, 30.4388490, -83.0895792 Photo: John S. Quarterman for WWALS.

For the Santa Fe, Suwannee, Alapaha, Alapahoochee, and Withlacoochee Rivers, all their springs, and the Floridan Aquifer: please help stop this foolish Florida water lawsuit.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can help with clean, swimmable, fishable, drinkable, water in the 10,000-square-mile Suwannee River Basin in Florida and Georgia by becoming a WWALS member today!