Southeast
THEY STARTED IT ALL: Turtle activists Rita Alexander (left) and Shirley Reynolds (right) on New Smyrna Beach 07/14/95. These two started the turtle lawsuit proceedings in the summer of 1995. via Daytona Beach News-Journal

FL - Startling Stories From Folks on the Front Lines of Volusia's Beach-Driving Debate

Among the nearly 100 people who sent us letters we received about beach driving were people who were directly involved in one of the biggest political and legal battles of Volusia County's history.

Former assistant county attorney Michael Rodriguez: The federal government could get involved if the county’s not careful

I was the former assistant county attorney who worked closely with Deputy County Attorney Jamie Seaman on all issues relating to the Incidental Take Permit and beach driving.  I am concerned that the county is opening up a can of worms with expanding beach driving.

There can be potential federal litigation and the revocation of the ITP which will be the end of all beach driving, especially since the new Biden administration will not take the same hands-off approach to environmental regulation that the outgoing Trump administration undertook.

Unfortunately, when Jamie and I left, much of the institutional relationship between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the county went away with it.  The staff there now do not have the experience to handle such a complex matter and think they can copy what St. Johns County did (being that they came in from there and don't know the historical differences between the two).

Michael A. Rodríguez lives in DeLand. He is now city attorney for the city of Apopka.

Sons of the Beach officer Mike Denis:  This fight’s not political

Why are we “beach-nuts” so passionate about this topic?  That’s the question that needs to be looked at.

Here’s what feeds my passion.

Read more.