Florida Tea Party: Protecting Manatees "Against the Bible"


Add manatees to the list of things the Tea Party is against. A Florida Tea Party group is fighting new restrictions that would help save the manatee population, and its arguments are taking on Biblical proportions.

"We cannot elevate nature above people," Edna Mattos, leader of the Citrus County Tea Party Patriots, told the St. Petersburg Times. "That's against the Bible and the Bill of Rights."

Manatees have long set-up home in Kings Bay, but the bay is also popular with boaters and swimmers. Officials in Kings County want to protect them by restricting human activities in the bay.

"They don't want people here," Mattos claimed.

The local Tea Party is not the only group fighting the restrictions. The Crystal River City Council and the Citrus County Commission are against them as well. However they cite damage to the local economy rather than God as their reason.

Protections for the manatees have been in place since 1980, when the bay was declared a federal wildlife refuge. Since then the manatee population has grown from 100 to the current 550.

However, boating accidents have killed 16 manatees -- 13 in the past decade.

Mattos claims environmentalists and animal rights activists are bad news. "If some of these environmental movements had been around in the days of the dinosaurs, we'd be living in Jurassic Park now."


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