Reef and Surf Take Precedence Over Beach Erosion in Florida

A group of surfers has successfully blocked an environmentally-harmful beach dredging and repair project in Florida, at least temporarily. The project was meant to counteract beach erosion problems, but was protested over concerns about local reefs.
March 11, 2009, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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"When the Town of Palm Beach proposed a beach repair project that Mr. Gibson thought posed a threat to those prized breaks, he and other surfers challenged the project in court.

Last week they succeeded in blocking - at least temporarily, on environmental grounds - a strategy widely used against the beach erosion that threatens most of the nation's coast and is accelerating as global warming fuels the rise of sea levels.

In ruling against the project, the administrative law judge who heard the case, Robert E. Meale, criticized its potential environmental effects and denounced as "worthless" some of the engineering behind it. Advocates of the project, a sand-pumping effort known as beach nourishment, called the ruling misguided and said they feared that if it held up it would drive coastal towns to remedies that are more environmentally dangerous, like constructing seawalls or other coastal armor."

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Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2009 in The New York Times
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