A clash between the United States government and environmental groups is underway in Puerto Rico. According to the Associated Press “The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit [August 16] against the US government, accusing it of endangering wildlife and humans…”
Concerned environmental groups are suing the US Army Corps. The Army Corps plans to dredge San Juan Bay to allow larger boats to enter. The National Ocean Service describes dredging as “[t]he removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies.” Dredging can disturb an ocean’s ecosystem, which could cause larger environmental problems. Environmental groups fear that dredging will introduce pollutants, like fossil fuels, to the bay. This could result in an ecological disaster and could destroy the ecosystem. The Associated Press reports, “The US Army Corps of Engineers’ $60 million project would remove 2.2 million cubic yards of seafloor sediment to deepen and widen San Juan Bay’s shipping channels. Dredging would last more than a year, and some of the material could be transported to the nearby Condado Lagoon Estuarine Reserve, which is popular with locals and tourists who swim, snorkel, and paddle board its waters, where manatees and starfish are a common sight.
According to the Associated Press, “The lawsuit states that the Corps submitted an environmental assessment instead of a more rigorous environmental impact statement and accused it of reaching an erroneous determination in August 2018 that dredging would have no environmental impact.” It is yet to be seen if the lawsuit’s claims are valid, and it will take months to review the outcome of this battle.