Deep Dredge Delayed: Port Officials Optimistic, Environmentalists Ready to Go the Distance

Categories: News
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The Port of Miami's much-debated "Deep Dredge" will be delayed for months -- possibly years -- as a Tallahassee judge hears arguments for and against the project this August.

Port officials tell Riptide that they are optimistic the project will still be completed on time. But a lawyer representing environmentalists says his clients are prepared to go the distance to prevent the port expansion.

"In the event we are not successful in finding a mutually acceptable solution we will continue with the challenge, take the case to trial, and seek a judgment prohibiting the dredging from going forward in any manner," says James A. Porter.

Environmentalists have argued that the dredge project -- which would enable the port to receive the super-sized freight ships that will soon stream through a widened Panama Canal -- isn't a guaranteed economy boon. Those ships may never arrive, they say, while environmental damage to Biscayne Bay will be lasting.

Port officials say the dredge project -- part of a larger $2 billion port expansion -- will create jobs and dramatically increase shipping to Miami. If it's completed on time, that is.

The court-ordered delay is a temporary victory for environmentalists, who sued at the last minute to stop the project.

The Miami Herald quoted Port Director Bill Johnson lamenting the environmentalists "obvious delay tactics." But Johnson was more optimistic in a statement emailed to Riptide.

"While disappointed in the delay in the permitting process, we believe the project will move forward and that the dredging will be completed to meet the 2014 deadline tied to the opening of the expanded Panama Canal," he said.

Porter -- who represents the Tropical Audubon Society, Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper, and fishing captain Dan Kipnis -- didn't leave much room for negotiation, however.

"The likelihood of settlement will largely depend on the County's willingness to acknowledge the risk and the consequences of failing to resolve the matter and going to trial," he said.

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12 comments
Being bribed
Being bribed

How about disgraced Carlos Alvarez? He acted like he was on the Marlins payroll. Even dumb voters recalled him by 88% to 10%.

Bill Johnson on the payroll of the dredging contractors? Bribes?

Being bribed
Being bribed

How about disgraced Carlos Alvarez? He acted like he was on the Marlins payroll. Even dumb voters recalled him by 88% to 10%.

Bill Johnson on the payroll of the dredging contractors? Bribes?

Criminals ruin our Bay
Criminals ruin our Bay

Bill Johnson is another criminal "public sector" employee like the imprisoned Veldora Arthur and the no-show job recipient MeredithNation. They all steal money from the taxpayers.

Liars
Liars

Thank the heavens SOME groups are trying to protect Biscayne Bay and Government Cut. Remember the taxpayers own the government. Too bad government employees have such huge pay and benefit packages. They lie, cheat and steal to keep the graft rolling in.

How about City of Miami Fire Captain Veldora Arthur? She was getting a $250,000 package and she still was a criminal. Now serving 4 years in prison.

Clubs baby seals
Clubs baby seals

Bill Johnson spends his vacations clubbing baby seals. He doesn't give a crap what he destroys.

32 years as a bureaucrat
32 years as a bureaucrat

Bill Johnson only cares about his pay and benefits package. If Government Cut turns into another Three Mile Island or another Exxon Valdez he doesn't care. He works for the County and failure and causing an environmental debacle is never grounds for firing.

We should all contribute to the legal fund to fight dangerous dredging.

Corruption reigns
Corruption reigns

The contract to lobby for the tunnel and the contract to build the tunnel was/is corrupt.

The campaign to get the contract to do the unneeded dredging is corrupt.

Protect natural resources
Protect natural resources

It is about time the Federal Government and the National Park Service woke up and started repairing the Everglades. Making the sugar growers stop polluting the Everglades would help too.

Residents like nature
Residents like nature

Let the container ships go to Ft Lauderdale. Who cares? We need a beautiful Biscayne Bay for the residents and tourists to enjoy. Thank goodness someone is standing up to the foreign shippers who want to pollute and destroy our resources.

Save Biscayne Bay
Save Biscayne Bay

Bill Johnson is a 30 plus year "lifer" at the County and he will do and say anything to perpetuate the "party line".

The environmentalists who are fighting the destruction of Biscayne Bay are right. Too bad they couldn't stop the money losing tunnel. The taxpayers will lose $2 BILLION on that boondoggle. Bill Johnson was told to push that debacle too.

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