Dec 302016
 

by Margaret Blank…….

Keys media generally serves to downplay the failings of FKAA officials. FKAA documents reveal that Toppino has done over $20 million with the FKAA in the last ten years – $12.4 million of that on the Cudjoe Regional project alone, despite public reports of only $1,000,000 in FKAA contracts. Not only that, Toppino benefited heavily from questionable bid shuffling on the now-failing Big Coppitt project, the details of the bidding process closely guarded from the public. If you want to know how the FKAA’s systems are performing you have to go to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) Oculus database and look for yourself.

In other words, government corruption and incompetence run rampant in the Keys, uncovered by the mainstream media. So if our government officials won’t look out for the public, and the local news media won’t look out for the public, then who will?

Many times its the affected citizens themselves. The folks in Cudjoe Regional have fought relentlessly to make sure their project is done right. And it’s not over yet. Not even close. The good news is that citizens don’t always have to fight this battle alone. An organization called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), is involved now, too.

As you might recall, the FKAA and the county wrote an environmental assessment for the Cudjoe Regional project and attempted to pass it off as being prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers. What actually happened is likely to be a whole lot worse than what has so far been reported. The FKAA used the document to persuade the FDEP to issue a finding of no significant impact. A few years later, the Army Corps became aware that the misleading document existed and demanded that the county remove it from their website. The county complied.

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Margaret Blank
Margaret Blank is the former General Manager of the Key Largo Wastewater Treatment District. Read more about Margaret, her experience, her research, her opinions on sewering the Keys and more in her blog: therealpoop.
 December 30, 2016  Posted by at 1:00 am Issue #199, Margaret Blank  Add comments

  4 Responses to “GUEST COMMENTARY: PEER Follows Up on FKAA’s Fake Environmental Assessment”

  1. Ms. Blank (and many others) deserves great credit for exposing the machinations of FKAA and its cronies. The putrid smell of corruption has been a hallmark of the Cudjoe Regional sewer since its inception. From the endless supportive statements by a certain County Commissioner to myriad engineering flaws that led to predictable cost overruns, Cudjoe Regional is the stuff of a Mario Puzo (Godfather) novel. One has to wonder why DEP, NOAA and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service turned a blind eye to, for example, well known pollution problems associated with use of shallow injection wells in porous limestone, as used at Cudjoe Regional. Let’s hope prosecution of guilty parties, where warranted, is firm and swift. Only by holding individuals accountable for their actions (or lack thereof) will justice be served.

    • It’s a team effort for sure. The more people who start digging and questioning the better. Unfortunately can’t rely on county/FKAA statements to be truthful and accurate. Have to go straight to the documents.

      Not sure what if anything can be done about all this. Maybe the new state attorney will have some ideas. After all, the state attorney’s office convened a grand jury to look into the Stock Island wastewater project. If anything, the county’s lack of oversight is even worse on Big Coppitt/Cudjoe Regional than it was on Stock Island.

  2. Margaret is totally AWESOME!