The St. Johns Water Management District on Tuesday approved the permit sought by Sleepy Creek Lands. The ranch is owned by Canadian billionaire Frank Stronach, founder of Aurora, Ont.-based autoparts company Magna International.
A broad coalition of environmentalist had opposed the permit.
The decision by the water management district follows a state administrative hearing last year in which a judge sided with the ranch.
Environmentalist say Silver Springs is already ailing because of heavy pumping of the Florida Aquifer by municipalities and growers.
District officials said it would reject a second permit sought by the ranch.
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