public trust joins Mayport to fight cruise terminal and pollution
The Village of Mayport is an historic, quaint fishing village. Scholars believe Jean Ribault landed here in 1562, two years before the establishment of Ft. Caroline which predates both St. Augustine and Jamestown. Mayport has existed as a shrimping and fishing village and has been responsible for the peaceful upbringing of countless Floridians. Today the livelihoods and the very existence of the people of Mayport are threatened.
The Jacksonville Port Authority (Jaxport) has asked the Jacksonville City Council to pass three related ordinances which would allow Jaxport to build a cruise ship terminal on the banks of the St. Johns River in the tiny Village of Mayport. Those ordinances include 2008-892, a land use amendment; 2008-893, a rezoning; and 2008-970, a text amendment to the comprehensive plan. The Mayport Civic Association, along with many Mayport residents, vehemently objects to the construction of the cruise ship terminal and the Public Trust has agreed to join the fight.
In addition to the multitude of objections of the Mayport residents, the Public Trust is particularly concerned with the negative effects a cruise ship terminal and the associated cruise ship traffic would cause on the surrounding environment. Air pollution, effluent and hazardous waste discharge, stormwater runoff, wildlife, and visual blight are all concerns which the Public Trust argues Jaxport, and the Jacksonville City Council, must address before taking any further steps. These effects are all particularly threatening considering the close proximity the cruise ship terminal would have with the Timucuan Ecological Preserve and the St. Johns River. By way of example, the following is a short list of the potential threats the Public Trust is fighting to prevent:
-The cruise terminal, if allowed, will be placed within the Timucuan Ecological Preserve, one of the jewels of Jacksonville.
-The air emissions from burning bunker-c fuel (the current fuel of choice) are known to cause serious adverse health-effects in humans, even death.
-Discharges from cruise ships are known to contain many pathogens of concern to human health, including: salmonella, shigella, hepatitis, and gastro intestinal viruses.
-Discharges from cruise ships are known to cause beach closings due to unacceptable levels of fecal contamination.
-Even when cruise ships employ Advanced Waste Water Treatment Systems, they do not eliminate metals which can bioaccumulate in the food supply.
-Waste water from ships contains nitrogen and phosphorous that promote excessive algal growth, which in turn consumes oxygen in the water and can lead to fish kills and the destruction of other aquatic life, including coral. Algal blooms alone have been implicated in the deaths of more than 150 manatees off the coast of Florida.
To address these and other concerns, the Public Trust, on behalf of the Mayport Civic Association and several Mayport residents, entered into negotiations with Jaxport in December of 2008. After receiving an initial proposal from Jaxport, the Public Trust consulted with the concerned parties to draft additional protective measures. These measures were added to the initial proposal and sent back to Jaxport through a mediator. After receiving Jaxport's reply the Mayport Civic Association and the concerned residents decided that they could not accept the proposal. Although Jaxport made several concessions that benefitted both parties, they nevertheless failed to adequately address core concerns respecting the environment and the viability of the shrimping and fishing industry. As a specific example, Jaxport refused to guarantee that all ships docked at the terminal would use shore power, an alternative that would have eliminated sulfur and NOx emissions. Thus at this time the Public Trust is awaiting the decision of the City Council regarding the three ordinances at issue before it pursues the next appropriate step. In the meantime the Public Trust is looking forward to further discussions with Jaxport in the hope that an agreement can be reached that truly benefits the City of Jacksonville.
To this point the Public Trust has joined the citizens of Mayport who have worked tirelessly to achieve these goals. This is a daunting task to be sure, as Jaxport has seemingly unlimited access to money and the politically powerful Goliaths of Jacksonville. The Mayport citizens believe a number of irregularities have occurred within the "system" which has led to the threat of this cruise terminal's impact on the village. The passions and hearts of these Mayport villagers inspire us to devote ourselves to fight for what is right. And although the Public Trust is providing its legal assistance to the Mayport Civic Association and the residents of Mayport free of charge, such efforts are not cost free. Indeed the Public Trust has already incurred considerable expenses while working to protect the interests of Mayport. A small portion of these expenses has been offset by the generous donation of our members, but much more assistance is needed.
For this reason we ask all who wish to stand up for the rights of the Village of Mayport to join the fight and become members of the Public Trust. Your $25.00 donation will not only grant you a one-year membership, it will also allow the Public Trust to advocate for the protection of our air, water, manatees and dolphins, landscape, even the health of our citizenry. If you choose to become a member of the Public Trust your annual donation of only $25.00 will be tax deductible, as we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. But this financial benefit to you is secondary to the knowledge that you have taken advantage of the opportunity to stand up for what you believe. We at the Public Trust are guided by the principle that northeast Florida is blessed with beautiful and unique "special places" which deserve protection. We hope that you agree with this principle and also wish to do your part to save the areas that we so thankfully call home.
For more information on how to become a member of the Public Trust, please click on the "Donate Now" button found in the menu above. If you donate $25.00 or more you will automatically become a member of the Public Trust unless you indicate otherwise
joining us is voluntary,please visit savemayportvillage.net
any infomation that may suuport us in fighting this terminal can be sent also to firstname.lastname@example.org together may we save open space and access to the public.