Background: The Army Corps of Engineers has released their report concerning the widening of the entrance channel to Port Everglades and it’s critical that they receive letters or emails of support during the Open Comment period. It was a 17 year study (yes, 17 years) and they are recommending several mitigation options which are outlined in the letter below.
Comments need to be sent/emailed prior to August 13 to:
USACOE Project Director, Terri Jordan-Sellers at Terri.Jordan-Sellers@usace.army.mil
It is critical that the project get included in the Federal WRDA (Water Resources Development Act) so that it can then move on to the appropriations phase. The last time the WRDA bill came up in front of Congress was 2007, almost 7 years ago and Broward can’t afford to wait another 6+ years or we lose much more than our competitive edge.
I’ve included a letter the Alliance sent to all its Board members asking for support. It has all the basic information. Please send in your letter!
For the past two years, we have been working with business leaders across Broward County to support a critical project that has been 17 years in the making. This $313 million project involves the deepening and widening of the Port Everglades navigation channels to accommodate new mega-ships that are replacing the current older fleet. These ships are not only expected to pass through an expanded Panama Canal starting in 2015, but are coming to the Port today from Europe only partially loaded. After nearly two decades of waiting, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has finally released its Feasibility Report and draft Environmental Impact Statement. Completion of the final reports by the end of this year, and project authorization by Congress, is required before we can compete for federal funding to move forward with this project. Broward County needs this project authorized by Congress and subsequent funding to remain competitive as the #1 container port in Florida.
Today, Port Everglades supports 11,700 direct jobs locally and a total of 201,000 jobs statewide. This deepening project, along with the separate Turning Notch Extension and intermodal rail facility on the Port, is projected to create 7,000 new jobs regionally and support 135,000 new jobs statewide over the next 15 years for a total 143,000 jobs. These projects will allow the Port to continue to meet the needs of shipping customers who are focusing their ship-building efforts on larger capacity vessels.
Port Everglades is committed to working with its environmental partners to ensure this project is sensitive to our natural resources. While there are a number of mitigation alternatives in the report, one proposed approach supported by NOAA is to use funds to grow and replace corals up and down the Broward coastline. And with Nova Southeastern University’s Coral Reef Institute located at the mouth of Port Everglades, we have the leading international research partner in our backyard.
Within the next few months, Congress may decide whether or not this project will be authorized for subsequent funding. Without this authorization, not only will we lose jobs, one of Florida’s key economic engines will lose its competitive edge. Time is running out and we need your support now!
There are two ways you can help:
If you agree that keeping Port Everglades competitive is important to the economic vitality of our region, please send a personalized email with the reasons this project is important to you as a resident and a business person. Send to USACOE Project Director Terri Jordan-Sellers at Terri.Jordan-Sellers@usace.army.mil. The deadline for submitting comments is August 13, 2013. We’ve included some possible reasons and the email addresses of our local legislative delegation below.
Here are some example perspectives from the business community that may help you in drafting your comments:
We support the Port Everglades project because it is good for my business, now and in the future.
The Port project should not be delayed any further because it will permanently disadvantage our community in competing for global commerce. We’ve waited too long already.
Business counts on Port Everglades to remain one of the strongest economic engines in Florida. Even though my business isn’t directly tied to the Port, the $26 billion in annual economic activity generated by the Port benefits all Broward residents.
Fort Lauderdale is the home of leading coral reef experts at Nova Southeastern University, an advantage Broward County has over the rest of the world.
Port Everglades is a good environmental steward, which is why they worked closely with the Corps for 17 years to research and consider every alternative to lessen any impact on the environment.
Broward County has an active and dynamic environmental community that understands the port’s significance as an economic engine and that there are ways to grow the port while protecting and enhancing the environment. This cooperative effort has already been demonstrated with the Southport Turning Notch extension, a project in which the Port, Audubon Society and the state of Florida agreed to a plan that will double the amount of mangrove plants to mitigate a Port redesign to accommodate several new cargo shipping berths.
Industry at Port Everglades creates jobs.
Our local legislators have been supportive of the Port and we’d like them to know that they are not alone. Their constituents are supportive as well. You may want to copy them on your comments to let them know.
The timing of this report and your support is critical. Should our project not get authorized this year, it could be years before it is eligible for funding. If you have any questions, please contact Gail Bulfin at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance at email@example.com or 954-627-0127.