Friday, February 03, 2017
Sen. Marco Antonio Rubio Supports Importing Sand For Florida Beaches: TC Palm
Does this sound a trifle weird? What Republican campaign contributor asked for this? Does "Little Marco," as President Trump dubbed him in debate, have a clue as to why he's doing this?
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, on Thursday introduced a bill which would allow the purchase of foreign sand to replenish eroded beaches in the United States.
Locally, Rubio's bill, the SAND Act, could provide a solution for rapidly eroding Florida beaches and could help protect the Treasure Coast’s sand, which has been eyed by Miami-Dade County, where sand reserves are depleted.
U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, a longtime advocate for Treasure Coast beaches, is to introduce the bill in the House.
Current federal policy bars the purchase of foreign sand unless economic or environmental factors make using domestic sand impossible. The most likely sand source for southeast Florida would be the Bahamas.
In a news release Thursday, Rubio said the ability to purchase foreign sand is “desperately” needed.
“This bipartisan bill will modernize an outdated law to give the Army Corps of Engineers greater flexibility in acquiring the sand Florida beaches so desperately need," he said. "Beach renourishment protects our infrastructure and environment, and provides a vital buffer against hurricanes and storms. Our beautiful shores also bring visitors from across the world, and these coastlines are economic drivers for the surrounding communities."
Treasure Coast elected officials — including commissioners from Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties — applauded Rubio’s efforts..
“On behalf of St. Lucie County, we appreciate the interest of Sen. Rubio in trying to address our sand-resource concerns through the introduction of this legislation," St. Lucie County Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson, chairwoman of the St. Lucie County Erosion Control District, said in the news release. "To be provided the option to explore other offshore sand resources is greatly appreciated."