Friday, March 4, 2011

Sierra Club Miami Group Reaction to Governor Scott’s pledge of $77 million to the Port of Miami Dredging Project

For immediate release, contact: Brad Stark, (305) 910-7652 (cell) or Jonathan Ullman, (305) 283-6070 (cell)

Sierra Club Miami Group
Press Statement

Reaction to Governor Scott’s pledge of $77 million
to the Port of Miami Dredging Project
The Port of Miami dredging project is expensive and the $77 million promised by Gov. Scott merely gets the project started.  This in no way is the total price tag for the project, before we consider ‘cost overruns’ that Gov. Scott so feared as his rationale for rejecting high speed rail in Florida.

Other Ports are also dredging to accommodate these ships so it is not clear the boon of new commerce claimed by Gov. Scott will ever arrive. 

Dredging is NOT needed to accommodate current ships that use the Port including cruise ships that are shallow flat bottom boats.  The plan is to dynamite a portion of the off shore reef at the entrance of the Port and increase the depth of the Port by 8 feet.  The blasting will be highly disruptive to fishing, recreational sports, sea grass beds due to sediment in the water from blasting and threatened animals like the Manatee and Porpoise.  The Army Corp of Engineers Environmental Impact Statement notes these impacts. 

The widened Panama Canal will accommodate not only some larger container ships but also increased ship traffic through the Panama Canal, which should benefit the Port of Miami regardless.  This was described in a recent Miami Today article. 

Miami roads and specifically I-95 can not support a dramatic increase in trucks transporting cargo off loaded from large cargo ships.  Costs of further widening I-95 and the costs of lost productivity by South Floridians from sitting in their cars in a clogged highway system also need to be considered.