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January 26, 1971 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-01-26

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, January 26, 1971

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, January 26, 1971

HALT BARGE CANAL

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ecologists triumph in Florida

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ANN ARBOR A= s

GAINESVILLE, Fla. UP) -
Marjorie Carr wasn't paying too
much attention as the speaker
at a meeting of the local Audu-
bon Society talked about plans'
for the Cross-Florida barge
canal.
Then, as his finger traced a
route on a map, she sat up in
sudden alarm. The finger ran
straight down the valley of the
Oklawaha River, one of the
most beautiful wild streams in
America.
"It was the first I had heard
of it," said the Micanopy house-
wife. "I was horrified."4
Out of that little' meeting on
the night of Nov. 8, 1962, Carr
came to organize a small band.
of nature lovers to do battle
with the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers.
What started as a one-woman'
fight was to mushroom into a
mighty roar of protest against .
destruction of natural resouces
- a fight that reached its cli-
max last Tuesday in the White
House.
President Nixon announced
then he was ordering a halt to
the canal after the commit-
ment of $50 millidh to save "this
region of unusual and unique
natural beauty."
As her first move, Carr or-
ganized a "Save the Oklawaha"
group within the Alachue Au-
dubon Society. The members
turned out large maps of t h e
canal route and mailed them all
over Florida. They wrote letters
to their congressmen and state
officials.
The only thought at first was.;
to reroute the canal and rescue
the river.
But, said Orr, "the more we
looked the more we knew that
the canal could not be justified
from an economic or any other
standpoint."
For more than two years,

steadily growing in numbers, the
Gainesville group clamored for
a public hearing. Finally on Jan.
5, 1966, Gov. Haydon Burns sug-
gested that they state their case
at a water resources meeting in
Tallahassee.
"Burns invited us," said Wil-
liam Partington, Audubon as-
sistant state director, "because
we had raised so much hell."
"I think of that meeting as
the turning point in Florida
conservation history, because
pepple from the Florida Keys to

had predicted was coming true."
By this time, the Environ-
mental Defense Fund (EDF) of
New York began making news
with its successful court fights
against use of harmful pesti-
cides. The EDF agreed to handle
a suit against the Army En-
gineers for an injunction against
the canal.
The Gainesville group, joined
by others from all over Florida,
met and organized the "Florida
Defenders of the Environment"
(FDE) to research information

.............. ~.a:.".... ... .r..:::r:::r ."n. .. "..:'...,..... ....... a: ::.......
The Florida Department of Air and Water
Pollution Control gave the movement a huge
boost with a report calling the canal "the most
devastating project ever undertaken in For-
.da..
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Corps did not report objections
to the canal to Congress; mis-
represented benefit-cost ratios;
grossly underestimated m a i n-
tenance costs, and failed to con-
sider the value of the loss of the
Oklawaha River.
"By now, we began to feel we
had a chance to win," Partington
said. "We were tremendously
excited. The man on the street
was with us all the way."
The Florida Department of
Air and Water Pollution Con-
trol gave the movement a huge
boost with a report calling t h e
canal "the most devastating
project ever undertaken in Flor-
ida."
Other agencies warned of
danger that the dredges would
bite into the shallow Floridan
aquifer, threatening the f r e s h
water supply of South Florida.
The Florida Senate Commit-
tee on Natural Resources voted
5-0 for an investigation to det-
ermine whether the state should
withdraw its support of t h e
canal. And last June, interior
Secretary Walter Hickel asked
the Army for a 15-month mora-
torium on the digging for fur-
ther study of its 'environmental
impact.
An FDE poll of candidates in
the 1970 Florida elections show-
ed 81 per cent favoring a mora-
torium or abandonment of the
canal. Only one per cent fav-
ored completion of the canal
as planned.
The beginning\ of the end
came Jan. 15, when the Wash-
ington court issued a temporary
injunction halting some phases
of the canal work.
Then President Nixon an-
nounced that he was stopping
the canal to "prevent a past
mistake from causing perman-
ent damage."
Carr's reaction? "I w a s
bowled oer!"

4I

the Panhandle met each other
for the first time," Partington
said. "Splintered groups began,
talking about organizing a unit-
ed front."
By now, however, the dredges
were chewing their way up the
Oklawaha Valley. The fight
seemed hopeless.
Then. in the fall of 1968, the
Rodman Dam closed on a 15-
mile stretch of the Oklawaha.
Great trees which had b e e n
lashed down into the muck of
the valley popped to the surface,
in incredible numbers. Others
left standing in water began to
die. Water weeds spread 1 i k e
wildfire over the stagnant, ris-
ing pool.
"This is a crime against na-
ture," said Dr. George K. Reid,
biology professor at, Florida
Presbyterian College.
"Now we had visual evidence,"
said Partington, "that what he

for the suit. Its initials w e r e
EDF in reverse.
Partington was elected chair-
man of the FDE; Carr vice
chairman.
Now the FDE brought in en-
vironmental scientists f r o m
around the nation to study the
canal project and its effects on
the ecology. The ball was roll-
ing.
The Army Engineers found it-
self in the position of having to
defend its digging at every turn.
"The impact of the adverse
publicity was not adequately en-
visioned," said a Corps spokes-
man.
On Sept. 15, 1969, the EDF fil-
ed its suit in U.S. District Court
in Washington. It charged the
Corps with violating the con-
stitutional rights of the people
of the United States by destruc-
tion of natural resources.
It alleged further that t h e

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:<;.>"y;:.!} ,...:r.: ::;":,r. ,.:..;::s': ,s .:,.;.;: f Survival in our Times," 2009 LSA. 4 p.m.
Theoretical Seminar: R. Carroll, "An-
DAILY OFFICIAL omaous Magnetic Moment of the Elec-
tron in the Mass Operator Formalism,"
P&A Colloquium Rm,, 4:15/ p.m.
'BULLETIN ENACT Organizational Meeting: Poli-
tical issues comm, rm 2024, Nat. Res.
f . . . . ;: . ; : : : :::. ; ;:g! # 5 # 5 ! ! ! g i g i g ! ! ! !! s ! ! :; ' : . r . .: . .B l d g . , 7 . 3 0 p . m .
(Continued on Page 7)

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phone 764-9270.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 1971
Day Calendar
Computer and Communication S c i.r
Lecture: S. Kaplan. "The Internal
Model of the (Dangerous and Uncer-
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(and so are they)

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For the student body:
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$25 -
Sizes 34 to 46
CHECKMATE
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SUITS
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.VARSITY T

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JANUARY SALE
Receivers, speakers, turntables, and tape recorders
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SUITS
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TOMORROW NIGHT
STUDENTS FOR THE PEACE TREATY
and
LIFE CULTURE WEEK
PRESENT
JOHN FROINES
Speaking on the Peoples Peace Treaty
JANE FONDA
Winter Soldier Investigation
TOM HAYDEN
Chicago Conspiracy 10 Defendant.
ARCHIE SINGHAM
Third World Liberation
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Arrow Shirts
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NOW $400

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This sale includes a great many items in our stock
stock. We have 8 experienced salesmen to help you

and the selection is extremely good. All merchandise on sale is from our regular
take advantage of this fantastic sale! George A. Wild, Jr.

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