Nine environmental groups have filed a letter with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers challenging the Miami International Boat Show's plans for the 2016 show at Miami Marine Stadium.
The groups have challenged an application submitted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association for a 5-year permit to construct temporary docking facilities near the stadium, the South Florida Business Journal reported.
The groups -- the Tropical Audubon Society, Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach, Friends of Biscayne Bay, Friends of Virginia Key, the Florida Keys Chapter of Izaak Walton League of America, the Cypress Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, Sierra Club Miami, Urban Environment League of Greater Miami and Urban Paradise Guild -- are concerned about the use of polystyrene foam to build temporary docks in the stadium basin.
Michael De Filippi of the Miami Beach Sustainability Committee told the paper that the platforms can be harmful to wildlife, which can mistake the small pieces of material for food.
However, while the article referenced a floating dock system that was used at the unaffiliated Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show, NMMA is ordering a new floating dock inventory that is 100 percent EPA compliant, an NMMA spokesperson said in an email to Boating Industry.
"These floatation modules are encapsulated, encased in high density one-piece molded polyethylene tubs which are permanently sealed. The design of this type of system ensures a water tight seal and prevents any potential harmful material from entering the environment," NMMA said.
NMMA President Thom Dammrich further responded to environmental concerns in a letter to the editor in Thursday's Miami Herald.
The Miami International Boat Show closed another successful show in February that attracted almost 100,000 visitors from all over the world and delivered an economic impact of $600 million to Miami-Dade County. Next year’s event will be our 75th annual show, and we are delighted to celebrate this tradition at our new home, Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin.
Miami Marine Stadium Park is one of South Florida’s most historic and beloved boating destinations. We are working with the city of Miami on enhancements that will allow different generations from throughout the community who haven’t been able to enjoy the park for more than 20 years to come back and experience it again. We will build on the legacy of Miami Marine Stadium and are excited that construction is already under way for customized docks and an open area park that will accommodate land exhibitors.
The May 7 article Federal review adds to Miami boat show debate focused on a report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding the environmental impact of the work that will be done at Marine Stadium Park and Basin. This type of report is a routine part of the permitting process for any projects in our waterways — a process we have gone through for boat shows throughout the country.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association has worked with the Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies like it for years to ensure that we comply with any requirements or concerns surrounding our events. Our efforts at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin are no different.
As an organization centered on advocating for the marine industry, we’re acutely aware of the importance of protecting waterways. We represent and work with marine manufacturers and their boating customers who depend on the health of the marine environment for their livelihood and leisure. We actively take measures to help ensure clean marine engines and emissions. We also support the Sportfish Restoration Trust Fund, for which an estimated $300 million is collected annually from taxes boaters pay and that goes toward marine conservation, boater access and safety.
The boat show is a significant part of the Florida economy, supporting 55,000 middle-class jobs and generating approximately $32 million in tax revenue for the state from sales conducted at the show.
We are committed to working with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Miami-Dade community to ensure the Miami International Boat Show can continue to deliver the economic benefits and recreational enjoyment South Florida has become accustomed to throughout our 74-year history — while respecting the environment that surrounds our new home at Virginia Key.
We look forward to joining the South Florida community this coming February in welcoming back Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin and celebrating a new beginning.
In April, the village of Key Biscayne filed a lawsuit against NMMA, accusing the association of violating open records laws. That followed another lawsuit by the village against the city of Miami seeking to block moving the show to Virginia Key.
The show has to relocate from its traditional site at the Miami Beach Convention Center due to construction there during 2016 and 2017.
It's a share the boating industry requires law suits to do the right thing to protect our coastal waters for the full enjoyment of today's boaters and future generations of pleasure boaters. Daily I see new debris in Biscayne Bay. It's accumulating impact is a threat to our enjoyment of these waters and our food chain.