Originally published in the News-Press by Amy Bennett Williams on June 17, 2024

Last year, several prominent environmental nonprofits withdrew from the case, after the city hired a law firm known for what Hannon calls “scorched earth” tactics designed to “quash citizen involvement in local government affairs (by) running up fees on the taxpayers’ dime, and intimidating the non-profit organizations and individual citizens”, Calusa Waterkeeper said in a statement.

The threat of potentially crippling legal fees caused Waterkeeper as well as the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation to back away from the action. “We are disappointed that we are not able to continue as a petitioner,” SCCF CEO James Evans said at the time. “However, we remain committed to our position that the lock should remain in place and to our mission to protect and care for Southwest Florida’s coastal ecosystems.”

Calusa Waterkeeper Codty Pierce told The News-Press he couldn’t risk his organization’s financial future. “We are a grassroots organization, (and) need to survive to continue to provide for our community and a safeguard for water quality.”

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