Port clears major hurdle to dredging

Published: Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 09:45 AM.

On the flip side, there was optimism as the shipping channel is an authorized Corps project and therefore impacts to another Corps project were not evident.

“That is big news,” Pitts said of the decision by the Corps not to require the Section 408 assessment. “That would have been a deal-killer. That was very encouraging.

“We are not going to modify the channel beyond the federally-authorized channel.”

Also encouraging, said Pitts and Bill Perry with HMM, was that it was the lobbying of state agency officials which carried the day for the Port of Port St. Joe during a recent meeting.

In hiring Pitts – which came after the company and the Port Authority ensured crossed no legal or ethical boundaries – Perry noted Pitts’ long-standing knowledge with the government processes concerning ports as well as deep history with the Port of Port St. Joe.

Pitts learned of a meeting between officials with the Corps and state agencies. Pitts said last week that entering the meeting it seemed a foregone conclusion that Section 408 would come into play.

But, Pitts said, officials at state agencies lobbied the port’s case and that “support from leadership” was critical.

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