Sunday, January 20, 2008

Should Pensacola Sue the State for Letting Red Clay Wash into the Bay?

In October, red clay from the I-110 construction project was eroded by torrential rains and washed into Pensacola Bay. The State of Florida told everyone the rains were “acts of god” and there’s nothing that could have been done about the erosion because their preventative measures - that keep the clay from ending up in the bay - were overwhelmed. There's nothing they could have done, but they would make sure it wouldn’t happen again.

Well – the State has let it happen again. Archer-Western, the company doing the I-110 construction, has allowed more clay to wash into the bay. The State failed to provide proper oversight of the company’s efforts to prevent erosion at the construction site.

Florida’s Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection told Pensacolians they would make Archer-Western take the proper precautions to prevent clay from eroding into the bay, even during record-breaking rains.

We’ve heard this several times since the heavy October rains, but clay keeps spilling into our waterways. Since the beginning of the I-110 construction, the State has allowed the red clay to make its way into the bay. They say they’ve fined Archer-Western, but this isn’t working. The State is not preventing the clay from ending up in the bay.

Florida has failed to do their job and it’s time for Pensacola to do something about it. It’s time for the city to take action.

The city should sue the state if they fail to make sure that Archer-Western is doing all they can to prevent the clay from ending up in the bay. I’m sure if the state is threatened with paying the city for damages, they would make sure the bay won’t ever be stained red with the clay from the construction project that they are overseeing.

Why should Pensacola sue the state? They should sue because the clay from the I-110 construction project is killing marine life in our beautiful bay.

It's time for you to have your say Pensacola.

Do you think this is even a problem for us? Do you care that there’s red clay in they bay? Do you think the city should sue the state if more eroded clay from the I-110 construction is washed into Pensacola Bay?

If you do, you can use the email addresses I have provided below and email the state agencies overseeing the I-110 construction. Let them know how you feel about their lack of oversight. You can also email the city to encourage them to take legal action if the state does not prevent future erosion.

Florida’s Department of Transportation
Tommy Speights – District 3 – Public Information Officer

Florida’s Department of Environment
Sally Cooey – Northwest District – Public Services Officer

City of Pensacola
Tom Bonfield – City Manager

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