Charlie Crist calls on Joe Biden to intervene in jeopardized beach renourishment project
Image via AP.

Charlie Crist and Joe Biden
'We are spending our time trying to convince the Corps of its unwise decision while stretches of the beach erode away.'

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is calling on President Joe Biden to protect Pinellas County’s coast against erosion.

In a letter addressed to the President, Crist asks Biden to intervene in a recent decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that stalls plans to shore up a 9-mile stretch of sand from Clearwater to north Redington Beach — the Sand Key Shore Protection Project.

“For decades, the Army Corps of Engineers has been an important partner in supporting our tourism-based economy and protecting our community from the threats posed by climate change,” Crist said in a statement.

“But this latest decision by the Army Corps puts all of that progress at risk. It is unconscionable that the Corps would even consider cancelling such a critical economic, environmental and public safety project. I am calling upon President Biden to right this wrong and take action to protect the future of the Pinellas County Shore Protection Project.”

The Army Corps recently honed in on a once-brushed-over provision that requires Pinellas County to obtain easements from all private property owners along the shoreline — even if no sand will be placed on the homeowner’s lot.

And, if Pinellas County doesn’t obtain the 461 easements from property owners, the Army Corps will refrain from replenishing the eroded areas. The Congressman called the task “impossible and arduous.”

“This stand-off must come to an end immediately. The County and the Corps should already be in the process of planning for and designing the next regularly scheduled interval of this project, especially at a time when weather events in Florida are becoming more regular and more severe,” Crist wrote.

“Instead, we are spending our time trying to convince the Corps of its unwise decision while stretches of the beach erode away.”

This new requirement is different from years past, when the county only collected easements for areas where sand would be replaced, which varies each cycle. But the Corps has refused to accept that compromise for this upcoming nourishment cycle, which is scheduled for the summer of 2024.

“Mr. President, I know this may appear to be an arcane matter that should be settled between lawyers and engineers. Believe me, we have tried — for years. This appeal to you is to elevate a critical public safety and economic matter to stop the Corps from making a consequential decision that will have a lasting negative impact on a coastal community at risk of severe weather and sea level rise,” Crist wrote.

The Congressman has spent the last few years pushing back on this recently revived requirement, sending letters in 2020 and in 2021 calling on the Army Corps to work with Pinellas County to find a compromise.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]


3 comments

  • Richard Bruce

    August 9, 2022 at 4:47 pm

    This is why “Climate Change” is a complete farce. Over the millenniums, water movement changes the coastline. Now that people live near the beach nothing can change. So, the taxpayer must pay millions to artificially build up a naturally eroding beach to combat “Climate Change.” It’s supposed to change. That’s what nature does.

    • Elliott Offen

      August 9, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      I believe that climate change is real…but agree with you. The erosion will continue regardless due to hurricanes and natural erosion/sea level rise. Better to bulldoze all the homes on the beach. Boom…more beach 😆

  • Whippy Skipperton

    August 10, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    It’s a pre-planned stunt to boost Chuck and Joey’s slim chances in Florida. They’ve always gotten the money, and they will get it this time too. A taxpayer-funded campaign stunt is all.

Comments are closed.


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