Letters to the Editor

From the issue of September 28, 2000

The Port of Miami operates in waters specifically designated by the state as “outstanding Florida water.” Biscayne Bay is an “aquatic preserve.” The port is not on a working river like Savannah. We have beaches, recreation, and even some very expensive residential real estate within a half-mile of our port. The port shares the water with dolphins and manatees. Turtles nest nearby on Virginia Key.

Who said that adding more behemoth ships is a good thing for the people of Miami? Each ship -- akin to a floating apartment complex with a couple of thousand bathrooms, photo labs, x-ray chemicals, fuel, copper-based bottom paint, and cargo -- puts stress on the bay. Some of that pollution is finding its way into the water, according to government reports. Even if you have 1000 inspectors, you can't stop the pollution from ships and the wear and tear on the bay that the port's increased activity will cause. Biscayne Bay will silently relent to the quest for profit from the greedy.

What kind of community tolerates such chronic abuse? Have we all just given up, resigned ourselves to one environmental loss after another? Here in Miami, turning a blind eye to the environment seems to be a requirement for public office and a qualification for big campaign contributions.

In twenty years the children of today's public officials will be looking for a place to picnic and swim. But by that time Biscayne Bay will be bustling with commerce and the water quality will be good for little more than depiction on postcards. Tourists will fly to Miami and catch connections to other destinations that haven't been despoiled. The cruise lines won't complain, of course, and port-related businesses will be happy when the last pesky environmentalist citizen has thrown in the towel. This will be the legacy of the moms and dads who now hold power in government.

The culture of exploitation in Miami-Dade and the City of Miami is shameful. Thanks to New Times for at least putting it on record for the world to see.

Nancy Lee, board member
Sierra Club Miami Group

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