Amid Army Corps clash, Anna Paulina Luna says Idalia upped urgency for Pinellas beach renourishment

She said the federal agency will put its funding at risk if it insists on further delays.

Winds and storm surge from Hurricane Idalia impacted numerous coastal communities on the Gulf of Mexico.

The continued impact on the shore there adds urgency to beach renourishment needs in Pinellas County, according to U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna. The St. Petersburg Republican’s Office has stepped up demands that the Army Corps of Engineers end delays.

“Following the storm this issue is not just pressing, it’s dire,” said Edie Guy, a spokesperson for Luna.

The Congresswoman since her election to the U.S. House has remained in a struggle with the Army Corps over the issue. The federal agency wants to have 100% of property owners potentially affected by a public access easement sign off on the project. That’s a requirement many local officials fear will be impossible to meet.

In August, Luna called for Congress to invoke the Holman Rule and defund the salary of the Army Corps of Engineers Assistant Secretary Michael Connor over the matter.

“We are done playing games. You don’t get to mess with our homes and endangered species,” Luna said at the time.

If the Army Corps continues to delay the project, Luna’s team says the possibility of defunding the agency will become more likely.

“We have also received support from other Florida Members who are experiencing the same issue with the Corps and will be supporting our motion,” Guy said.

Idalia only worsened problems on the coast, according to Luna’s Office. The hurricane, which reached Category 4 status for a period in the Gulf of Mexico, produced significant wind and storm surge damage on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

While the storm made landfall in the Big Bend, Tampa Bay communities dealt with flooding and winds, especially in the Pinellas County region that Luna represents.

Representatives from Luna’s Office attended briefings at the Emergency Operations Center in Pinellas with Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody and other local officials.

“After the storm made landfall, our staff went to Tarpon Springs to meet with their local Police and Fire Chief while at their EOC. We have also been on two calls with FEMA with another one scheduled for Tuesday,” Guy said.

“Our major concern right now is the damage our beaches have suffered from the hurricane and months of the Army Corps downright ignoring our calls for beach renourishment.”

At this point, the office has characterized delays by the Army Corps as “bureaucratic delay tactics and willful obstinance,” something that ignores beach erosion on full display in the wake of the storm.

“This could easily be resolved by the Army Corps doing the right thing but they have refused to even respond to our last letter and calls for action,” Guy said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    September 5, 2023 at 12:18 pm

    Why should American taxpayers be burdened with the cost of coastal rehabilitation efforts that will be dismantled with the next hurricane or sea level rise? At some point Florida residents need to pack up and move to higher ground.

  • Brian T Sullivan

    September 6, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    I don’t live on the coastline or shore, but thank you for your continued efforts for those that do. Total Washington retaliation on a Red state/county.

Comments are closed.


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