Take 5

Court Upholds San Juan Harbor Deepening Project Amid Environmental Concerns

In a recent ruling, the court has upheld the decision to proceed with the San Juan Harbor deepening project, dismissing environmental concerns raised by the opposition. The court found that the government had not “entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem” nor had it “offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence” (Pages 17-18).

The Fish and Wildlife Service had previously concluded that the project would not have a significant impact on the environment, a decision that the court has now supported (Page 19). The Corps, responsible for the project, had argued that the deepening of the harbor would “reduce the shoreline impact of vessel wakes by reducing the number of vessels and increasing the range of tides during which vessels can transit the harbor” (Page 26).

The court also noted that the Corps had thoroughly considered the impacts on endangered species, engaged in formal and informal consultation as required, and reasonably determined that the effects on corals and manatees would not be significant (Page 29).

Despite the opposition’s argument that the Corps should have weighed certain evidence more heavily, the court found that the Corps had taken a hard look at potential air pollution and safety risks from the Project, effects on historic resources, and cumulative impacts (Page 29).

The court’s decision paves the way for the continuation of the San Juan Harbor deepening project, which is expected to have significant economic benefits for the region.

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