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Leon County will not appeal federal court ruling on Tired Creek

The Leon County, Florida Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last Tuesday to not appeal a federal court ruling in a lawsuit filed to contest the construction of the dam to create the 960-acre Tired Creek lake here.
On March 19, the Honorable B. Avant Edenfield of the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Georgia issued a 52-page order, which ruled in favor of Grady County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the suit filed by Georgia River Network, American Rivers and Leon County, Fla., in protest of the federal 404 permit issued by the Corps to Grady County permitting the construction of the fishing lake.
Leon County Attorney Herbert W.A. Thiele told Leon County commissioners last week Judge Edenfield “punted” and made the “decision he was deferring to the Corps in their decision making.”
The suit was filed by Georgia River Network and American Rivers in November 2010, but Leon County did not intervene until April 2011.
While at that time Thiele recommended joining in the suit, he told commissioners last Tuesday once Leon County got involved the county had to take the case as it had been “postured by the Georgia River Network. It was difficult to get the judge to take into consideration things not in the record. The record was not as full as we would have liked.
“We pointed out things the Corps did erroneously and insufficiently,” Thiele said.
“The court is allowing the Corps to be its own judge and self-regulated? Is that what you are telling me?” Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor asked the county attorney.
Thiele responded, “The court deferred to the Corps’ judgment.” The Leon County attorney also recommended the board instruct his office not to appeal the federal court ruling.
Commissioner Proctor then offered a motion not to appeal the federal court ruling and Leon County Commissioner Jan Sauls seconded it “regretfully,” she said.
Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge, who pushed for the county to join in the lawsuit last April, said Leon County was “getting it rammed down our throat.”
Desloge predicted the construction of the Tired Creek dam will “end poorly for us. I’m not going to chase my tail if all we do is spend time and money and end up in the same place we are in today. I’m not laying down just to get run over,” he said.
Leon County Attorney Thiele suggested there would possibly be other opportunities in the future for Leon County to take action to protect its interests.
“If you’ve seen Tired Creek recently, you know it is not going to fill up any time soon. I firmly believe the creation of this lake is a development proposal and hundreds and hundreds of houses will be offered and all on septic tanks and we are down hill. That point carried no weight with the court, but there may be an opportunity to come back and readdress it in the future,” Thiele said.
Leon County hired the law firm of Carr Allison to represent the county in the law suit and paid $73,250.68 in legal fees in the matter.

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