DIVING INDUSTRY ADVISORY: Organizations File Notice of Intent to Sue Army Corps of Engineers
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
DIVING INDUSTRY ADVISORY
Organizations File Notice of Intent to Sue Army Corps of Engineers
Regarding Port Everglades Dredging
Several organizations, including one DEMA Member Retailer in Fort Lauderdale, have filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Army Corps of Engineers over the potential destruction of the close-by living coral reef in the planned expansion of Port Everglades. The expansion of the Port is expected to begin in 2018.
Included in the filing are: Miami Water-keeper, the Center for Biological Diversity, Florida Wildlife Federation, Earth-justice and DEMA Member, Sea Experience. These organizations contend that there is a need for a new environmental review, given the damage caused by a recent and similar dredging operation at the Port of Miami. An environmental estimate made at Miami’s Port prior to dredging operations there, and using the same methodology as used during a pre-estimate in Port Everglades, indicated far less potential for damage than actually occurred.
In 2015 DEMA wrote to Terri Jordan-Sellers, Regional Technical Specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Jacksonville, Florida District and expressed similar reservations. In the letter dated April 20, 2015 DEMA indicated concern about the Port Everglades Dredging Project’s impact on the local underwater environment and the resultant effect on the South Florida Diving Industry. Concerns included the fact that the Port’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) indicated that the “turbidity and sedimentation effects associated with the Port Everglades Navigation Project Recommended Plan (will be)…similar to those seen at the ongoing Miami Harbor expansion project” and that, “the material disposed in the Port of Miami project is the same type of material being dredged at Port Everglades…and should result in similar conditions regarding associated sedimentation and turbidity generated by the material.” The DEMA letter of April 2015 further pointed out that Dr. Richard Dodge, Executive Director of the National Coral Reef Institute and Dean of the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center, had indicated that dredging in the Port of Miami project apparently caused negative effects on the environment (with potential negative impacts on the local diving industry) and that the Port Everglades project may encounter or create similar issues.
DEMA is advising all Florida Dive Businesses to express their concerns to the Army Corps about this project and ask for another Environmental Impact Study to be done prior to the start of dredging Port Everglades. You can contact the Army Corps by writing to:
Terri Jordan-Sellers, Regional Technical Specialist
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
701 San Marco Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Via Email: Terri.Jordan-Sellers@usace.army.mil
DEMA also asks that you send a copy of your Army Corps correspondence to DEMA at PublicPolicy@dema.org.
In addition to recent South Florida articles about this issue, you can find out more information about the organizations that notified the Army Corp of their intent to sue by clicking on the websites listed below:
Miami Water Keeper: www.miamiwaterkeeper.org
The Center for Biological Diversity: www.biologicaldiversity.org
Florida Wildlife Federation: www.fwfonline.org
Earth Justice: www.earthjustice.org
Sea Experience: www.seaxp.com