JTC POULTRY FACTORY: There is some bad news, sadly, in that the DEP refuses to require permits for this million-chicken factory….this is NOT A FARM! The GOOD NEWS is that on 1/21 we had a great turnout for the BOCC meeting and we’re finally getting the attention of the Commissioners. They may be getting nervous about reelection, and believe me, some of them really have to go!! While it is too late to stop the JTC factory, it’s not too late to stop their expansion and to stop future CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) from jumping on the bandwagon and bringing more massive animal factories in to pollute our rivers further! Buddy Nash, the new Chair of the BOCC did a great job of making sure everyone was heard….some twice and 3 times….and the Commissioners agreed to work with Noah Velanstein, SRWMD Executive Director to include state agencies, SRWMD and local citizens to look at how we can change AG-3 zoning regulations in high recharge areas of our aquifer! We are committed to protecting our waters for future generations and it seems the BOCC is finally interested in doing the same! It’s a tough nut to crack, because state regulations have taken away most of our autonomy regarding stewardship of our watershed. Changing/amending these laws is never easy or quick, but with cooperative effort from everyone, IT CAN BE DONE! ON 1/18, JTC WAS ORDERED TO STOP CONSTRUCTION and ordered to pay over $30,000 in fines for knowingly killing and burying Gopher Tortoises, an endangered & protected species in FL. They MAY even face felony charges. Stay tuned for more information, as this is a new & ongoing development. It is likely they will be allowed to continue construction when the penalty is paid. Our push now is to educate the residents of Fort White about this CAFO, many of whom are unaware that this is happening (shortly we’ll all be very much aware, as the air will be filled with the fragrance of chicken manure and rotting chicken bodies).We will be picketing at hwy 47/27 every week to get information to people who want to know and/or participate in getting the AG-3 zoning changed to protect our REAL family farmers and our aquifer! We can protect our future and we can do it by working with local & state agencies to do it! To stay abreast of public meetings & county workshops, look to OurSantaFeRiver.org and public notices in the LC Reporter for dates, locations and times that you can be a citizen participant! Spring will be here soon; can’t wait to be back out floating the rivers and enjoying the springs! NEVER GIVE UP!