Groups to Amend Wetlands Challenge

The Panhandle Citizens Coalition, Sierra Club and Citizens for the Bay are questioning an agreement that would give St. Joe blanket approval to fill wetlands. Such work would be in accord with limits set by the plan instead of obtaining separate permits for each development project.

The groups have 20 days from last Thursday to amend their complaint. That's when Administrative Law Judge Donald Alexander granted St. Joe's motion to dismiss the case in part because the groups failed to show they would be harmed.

A lawyer for the three groups says the plan's vagueness about what developments would be allowed makes it difficult to say how it would be harmful, but he says he will try to do that in the amended complaint.

St. Joe spokesman Jerry Ray says company officials remained puzzled by the challenge. They contend the agreement would protect wetlands by keeping nearly two-thirds of the acreage in Bay and Walton counties undeveloped.