Bob Wright

Bob Wright, Chairman & CEO, Palm Beach Civic Association

Today, the Civic Association sent the attached letter from Chairman Bob Wright to Florida Governor Rick Scott asking him to take action to stop the Palm Beach inlet expansion.  We are working closely with Mayor Gail Coniglio and others to halt the proposed deepening and widening plan that would be potentially disastrous for the Town of Palm Beach.

 ====================================

The Honorable Rick Scott, Governor
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001

 

Re: Please stop Palm Beach Harbor expansion.  There are no tangible net economic benefits in implementing this plan.

 

Dear Governor Scott:

The Palm Beach Civic Association represents the residents of Palm Beach.  We are deeply concerned about the proposal to deepen and widen the Palm Beach Harbor.  This destructive project will harm our environment and negatively impact our economy.

Studies show this proposal will create few new jobs and dramatically undercut current employment opportunities in tourism and the marine industries (boating, fishing, diving, etc.).  In fact, there will be no tangible net economic benefits to implementing this plan.

 

• Please stop Florida Department of Environmental Protection permitting for the Palm Beach Harbor expansion project.

• Please stop all Florida State funding for this plan to deepen and widen the Palm Beach Inlet.

     

Environmental Impact

- The blasting and dredging of the Palm Beach Inlet will destroy irreplaceable sea grass, coral reef and hardbottom ecosystems in the Lake Worth Lagoon, inlet and approaches to Palm Beach Harbor.

- The expansion activities will destroy a critical Snook spawning habitat within the inlet, and harm endangered manatees by disrupting their breeding ground and increasing the likelihood of vessel strikes.

Economic Uncertainty

- There is the real possibility of a net loss in jobs as a result of permanent environment damage from blasting, dredging and more aggressive Port activities.

- The tourism-based economy of Palm Beach County includes the world-renowned diving, fishing and boating grounds inside and outside the inlet.  Experts have suggested a net economic loss as a result of the damage and environmental changes from the expansion.

- This is a lose-lose with a net economic loss to our local economy, with only promises of minor port benefits and bad for residents because the promised transportation cost savings go to private business, not the taxpayers.

Safety and Security Concerns

- Recreational and commercial users of the Lake Worth corridor and inlet and approaches will be in danger because of stronger currents, more congestion and larger ship traffic.  Current Panamax ships will be able to access the Port, and create big port congestion in our small, fragile harbor.

- The existing kayaks, paddleboards and small recreational boaters using the inlet corridor dealing will have to navigate a deeper, wider, faster-flowing channel designed for mega-ships.

- A larger, more commercialized Port will bring with it expanded security zones, impeding residents, visiting boaters and small business operations and ultimately reducing and possibly eliminating access to parts of Lake Worth and Palm beach Harbor for all of us.

Storm Surge

- Communities bordering Lake Worth will have more exposure and risk as a result of a significantly larger channel, water volumes and currents caused by the widening and deepening project.

- The Expansion will create a significant rise in water levels within Lake Worth, causing detrimental impacts to residents along the Intracoastal who are only 1-2 feet above sea level and already have flooding now during mild storms.

- The acknowledged increase in surge and sea levels will change flood maps and increase insurance costs throughout the Lake Worth Lagoon region.

Beach Erosion and Sand

- The inlet expansion will reduce existing maintenance dredging that replaces vital sand on local beaches.

- The widening and deepening by blasting and dredging will disrupt the southerly flow of sand and increase already-critical beach erosion.

Quality of Life

- The Port of Palm Beach is a niche facility to service the Caribbean region, and was never meant to be a large container port like Port Everglades and the Port of Miami, which service our region well.

- Deepening and widening the inlet is irreversible and will forever damage the unique environmental and economic resources in the Lake Worth Inlet and lagoon, and the way of life that its surrounding communities expect.

Please help us prevent the serious damage that deepening and widening the Palm Beach Harbor will undoubtedly cause.  Help us save jobs in our vital tourist and marine industries.  We urge you to take immediate action to stop the permitting and funding of this ill-conceived effort.

Sincerely,
Bob Wright
Chairman and CEO