Port-Inlet Expansion Proposal
Lew Crampton, Chairman of the Citizens’ Association of Palm Beach, announced today that organization’s formal opposition to the proposed $88 million dredging project to widen and deepen the Palm Beach Inlet.
The Citizens’ Association joins the Palm Beach Civic Association, the Florida Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Everglades Law Center and other environmental and citizen groups that have spoken out publicly against the project.
“I believe there is more than ample evidence that this project has the potential to destroy the ecosystem of Palm Beach and surrounding areas,” said Mr. Crampton. “In addition, it poses significant threats to our town’s western shoreline. As an organization representing community-minded residents in almost half the town, we can’t remain silent on this critical issue.”
Mr. Crampton said his members are concerned about the increased ship traffic and larger cargo ships that will move through the town’s northern “backyard” as a result of the widened inlet. Even the blasting to excavate the channel has dangerous consequences, he said, citing expert opinions that scraping away the sea bottom wipes out sea grass beds and natural habitats that support manatee and fish populations.
He also expressed south end residents’ alarm at the potential for damage that an enlarged inlet could inflict upon properties along the Lake Worth Lagoon. “Town officials have made it clear that if the water in the lake rises, the likelihood of flooding on the island increases dramatically and there is nothing the town could do to control it,” he said.
Mr. Crampton emphasized that this is an “equal opportunity proposal,” equally threatening to the north and south ends of town. He noted that his members are eager to collaborate with neighbors island-wide to gain active support for their position from Congresswoman Lois Frankel and Congressman Patrick Murphy.
“We’re one town, and we recognize that we are all in this together,” he said.