oasis_of_the_seas_-fort_lauderdale_florida_ unsustainable development, unsustainable choices, port expansion, cruise linersIn a new industry update, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association (DEMA) has asked for industry help to address the need for a proper environmental impact study for Florida’s Port Everglades expansion in Fort Lauderdale. The Army Corps is pursuing plans to deepen, lengthen and widen the port’s entrance channel to accommodate larger cruise and cargo ships, but is submitting its plans based on an old environmental impact study.

 

Port Expansion will Destroy 21 Acres of Coral Reef

The port expansion project is expected to destroy more than 21 acres of coral reef and damage a larger area through the spreading of sediment in the water. But the environmental groups say the damage will cover an even wider area than anticipated, since a similar project at PortMiami smothered and buried a much more extensive area of coral reef than the Army Corps had predicted in its environmental review, ultimately burying reef habitat the size of 200 football fields.

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.

 

Plans Before Congress for Approval

DEMA has learned that the Army Corps of Engineers has now submitted their Port Everglades dredging plan to the US Congress for approval, while still using the previous environmental impact statement. DEMA is advising all Florida Dive Businesses to express their concerns to the appropriate members of Congress about this project and ask for another Environmental Impact Study to be done prior to the start of dredging Port Everglades.

DEMA’s concern, and the concern of these additional organizations, is that there is a need for a new environmental review, given the substantial 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. The organizations filing suit include Miami Water-keeper, the Center for Biological Diversity, Florida Wildlife Federation, Earth-justice and DEMA Retail Member, Sea Experience.

“The Corps is still relying on the same old, flawed survey that vastly underestimated the numbers of coral in Miami and the same incorrect assumptions about how far the sediment will travel,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “That’s illogical, and we are asking that they stop and rethink their assumptions.”

 

What You Can Do:

Please contact the following individuals in Congress and express your concerns regarding the Port Everglades Dredging Project. You can utilize the 2015 DEMA letter as a guide in expressing your concerns and send them to:

Congresswoman Lois Frankel
202-225-9890
1037 Longworth House Office Building, 9
Independence Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20515
http://frankel.house.gov/

Senator Marco Rubio
202-224-3041
284 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
Senator Bill Nelson
202-224-5274
716 Senate Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
bill@billnelson.senate.gov

Congressman Peter DeFazio (OR-4)
2134 Rayburn Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-225-6416

Senator Barbara Boxer
202- 224-8832
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee
456 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6175
senator@boxer.senate.gov

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
1114 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Ph: 202-225-7931
Fax: 202-226-2052

Congressman John Mica (FL-7)
2187 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4035
Fax: (202) 226-0821
Assistant: chelsey.neuhaus@mail.house.gov
Congressman Carlos Curbelo
1429 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2778

 

Take another step:

In addition, please consider contacting all members of the Broward County Board of Commissioners and members of the Commission for the City of Hollywood to express similar concerns.

DEMA also asks that you send a copy of any correspondence you file to DEMA at PublicPolicy@dema.org.

For more information on the organizations filing suit to create a new environmental review, see the following:

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

 

About DEMA.

With more than 1,300 members, the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA) is an international organization dedicated to the promotion and growth of the recreational scuba diving and snorkeling industry. This non-profit, global organization promotes scuba diving through consumer awareness programs and media campaigns and the yearly DEMA Show.  For more information on DEMA and affiliated programs contact (800) 862-DIVE (3483) or (858) 616-6408 and visit DEMA.org. To register for DEMA Show 2016 visit DEMAShow.com.

Image: Wikipedia, Oasis of the Seas, Port Everglades

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