Five years into the 30-year plan – a multi-billion dollar restoration of the Everglades is apparently off track…that’s according to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers internal memo.
Written by Gary Hardesty – one of the Corps’ top Everglades managers – the March 7th e-mail expresses concern about CERP… or the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.
The memo was leaked to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility – or PEER. The group seeks to raise transparency within government agencies like the Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency. Right now, the Corps is preparing its first 5-year Report to Congress on CERP – and this remarkably candid memo details concerns within the agency that the project has gone astray…and is in danger of losing Congressional support. PEER’s Executive Director – Jeff Rook – says it confirms what he’s heard from external critics, only now it’s from the inside.
“The line that struck me was it’s different from what we told the Congress we would do…and it’s not restoration! It’s the first time we’d heard the Corps admit that this is just a water supply project and not an environmental restoration…and it raises questions not only about this project, but the Corps has been pointing to this project as the model for its future work…and in our minds it raises questions as to whether the Army Corps of Engineers should be in the business of environmental restoration at all.”
Rook says the memo appears to indicate the project is less about restoration and more about ensuring water supply for urban populations and agriculture. The memo also points to growing costs. The Corps’ 5-year report is due to Congress later this Spring.
Wednesday, 23 March 2005 00:00