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Clam Bayou lawsuit bogs down until judge can rule

Al and Cindy Davis filed a federal lawsuit in June contending that neglect and clean-water violations are destroying Clam Bayou.

PATTI EWALD | Times Correspondent

Al and Cindy Davis filed a federal lawsuit in June contending that neglect and clean-water violations are destroying Clam Bayou.

GULFPORT — The future of Clam Bayou remains bogged down in court.

This month, attorneys for St. Petersburg, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Environmental Protection Agency filed court papers to end the federal lawsuit filed in June by Al and Cindy Davis of Gulfport.

The Davises, whose home borders the estuary that lies between Gulfport and St. Petersburg on Boca Ciega Bay, say neglect and clean-water violations are destroying the bayou.

Last week, their attorney, Thomas W. Reese, filed a response to motions to dismiss the suit.

St. Petersburg's motion to dismiss, filed by assistant city attorney Jeanne Hoffmann, contends that the Davises have no right to sue the city because it is complying with its stormwater permit issued by the EPA.

Reese said: "I'm surprised the city filed a motion saying they have immunity from water-quality standards. They claim their federal clean-water permit gives them immunity from complying with standards. Nobody has immunity to violate water-quality standards."

The water management district, known as Swiftmud, also filed a motion to dismiss.

"The district believes that the plaintiffs have failed to assert any grounds upon which the district has a responsibility in this case. In regard to Tom Reese's response to our motion, we believe that the plaintiffs failed to state a valid cause of action against the district," said Robyn Felix, Swiftmud media relations manager.

In the EPA's answer to the lawsuit, the agency admitted that it found that Clam Bayou did not meet water quality standards, Reese said.

The parties await a judge's ruling.

Clam Bayou lawsuit bogs down until judge can rule 10/06/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 6, 2009 10:30am]
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