The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District will host a public meeting Thursday, Sept. 25 at the Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library, 4607 Tutu Park Mall, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands beginning at 6 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to receive public comments concerning the permit application by Coral World, Inc. to construct a nearshore dolphin exhibit enclosure and landside support and visitor education center at Coral World Ocean Park at Water Bay in St. Thomas.
“In response to our Public Notice on the proposed project, and again when we publicized our recent Regulatory Open House in St. Thomas, we received many requests to meet specifically on this project,” said Donnie Kinard, chief of the Regulatory Division. “The Army Corps of Engineers is neither a proponent or an opponent of any project,” explained Kinard. “In making its decision, the Army Corps of Engineers considers the value of the aquatic ecosystems involved, the views of federal, state and local agencies and interest groups and 21 public interest factors. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.”
A decision whether to issue or deny a permit is based on information received through the Public Notice and the evaluation of the probable impacts of the proposed project, as well as analysis of the applicant’s avoidance and minimization efforts and compensatory mitigation proposed. “Public input is a critical part of our permitting process, and we are being responsive in holding this meeting and devoting the time needed to hear from all interested parties,” said Kinard.
The Army Corps of Engineers regulatory responsibilities were authorized by the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, which provided for the protection and maintenance of the nation’s navigable waterways. Under the Clean Water Act of 1972, the Corps is responsible for regulating dredge and fill activities in waters of the United States, including many wetlands.
Further details on the permit application for the proposed Coral World project are available in the Public Notice, which is open for public review and comment through Sept. 30, at http://1.usa.gov/1AQRJ2U.
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Release no. 14-059