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South Florida Business JournalDate: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 6:21pm EDT
Opposition to the PortMiami dredge project has been dropped, allowing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to receive an environmental permit and proceed with construction.
The Tropical Audubon Society, Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers and county resident Dan Kipnis agreed to withdraw their opposition to the issuance of a Florida Department of Environmental Protection Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit in exchange for a $1.4 million agreement, which still requires Miami-Dade County commission approval.
The permit would allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to move forward with the construction phase of the deep dredge project, which will deepen the PortMiami channel to 50 feet to accommodate larger container cargo vessels expected after the Panama Canal expansion in 2014.
The agreement would authorize $1.31 million from the seaport department to the county’s Biscayne Bay Environmental Enhancement Trust Fund, a $50,000 donation to the Tropical Audubon Society and a $50,000 donation to the Biscayne Bay Waterkeepers, according to county documents. The settlement agreement still requires approval from the county commission, which is scheduled to vote on the item on May 1.
“This is a win-win for the entire community,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, in a statement. “The agreement provides additional funding for important environmental projects, while at the same time allowing for the timely completion of the dredge project, which is critical to our efforts to grow our container cargo traffic and create thousands of new, well-paying jobs in our community.”