St. Joe, Port Authority to partner on initial dredging work

Published: Friday, July 5, 2013 at 08:59 AM.

Pitts said the shortest course to the dredging would likely be securing funding from outside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which ultimately would have to perform the dredging.

The most time-conducive option would be to seek funding from a variety of sources, the Florida Legislature, RESTORE Act funds coming to the county, federal funds and the State Infrastructure Bank.

If the funds can be raised, and the amount would be well into the millions of dollars, those dollars could be provided to the Corps under an agreement by which the Corps, once dredging is completed under its permit, would pledge reimbursement in the future.

The other alternative would be working directly with the Corps, which would likely require far more time, Pitts said.

“I’m also concerned the dredging will require an Environmental Impact Statement, which would take at least two years,” Pitts said. “We may only need an Environmental Assessment” a far less time-consuming, intensive process.

Time is of the essence for the dredging.

In the past two months the St. Joe Company has entered into Letters of Intent that would, among other aspects, mean the shipping of some 1.125 million metric tons of wood pellets through the port by way of the AN Railway.

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