Feds say building State Road 7 would violate Federal Clean Water Act
Federal EPA: Permit to build State Road 7 should NOT be approved
(October 13, 2015)
(West Palm Beach, FL) – In a new scathing letter to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the proposal to extend State Road 7 should not be approved because it would “result in substantial and unacceptable impacts” to the environment.
The EPA was also critical of earlier studies that concluded the project would not have a significant impact on the environment. It singled out the Federal Highway Administration’s earlier environmental assessment, calling it “not comprehensive,” citing the fact that it “did not include any indirect and cumulative impact analysis.”
The letter, sent on September 28th, urges the Army Corps of Engineers to consider building the road farther west, saying moving the roadway would “have less impacts to freshwater wetlands,” and would “lessen the possibility for an adverse impact to the drinking water supply for the City of West Palm Beach and the towns of South Palm Beach and Palm Beach Island should a toxic spill occur along the proposed State Road 7 extension route.”
The EPA also concluded that if the road is not moved, “it is likely that there will be substantial or potentially significant long-term impacts to the Grassy Waters Preserve from roadway contaminants including heavy metals and other hazardous substances.”
“In conclusion,” wrote EPA officials, “the EPA believes that the permit for the project should not be approved as currently proposed, because it does not comply with the CWA [Clean Water Act] Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines. We believe that the proposed project may result in substantial and unacceptable impacts to hydric pine flatbeds, sawgrass, and large tracts of the remaining freshwater wetlands in Palm Beach County, which we consider to be ARNI [aquatic resources of national importance].”