Bipartisan Florida Delegation Unites to Restore Local Beaches
February 3, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21), with fellow members of the Florida Congressional delegation, introduced the Sand Acquisition, Nourishment and Development (SAND) Act. Earlier this week, Senator Marco Rubio introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
If passed, the SAND Act will repeal archaic law that does not allow communities to buy sand from the Bahamas and other foreign countries to replenish shorelines. For counties like Dade and Broward that have depleted their usable sand offshore, this will alleviate the high price of trucking in sand. It will also mitigate potential legal battles over domestic sand sources between northern and southern Florida counties.
Beach erosion and scarcity of offshore sand has been a longtime critical issue for south Florida. Last session Senator Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Frankel got close to changing the law in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016 with a provision that required a study be conducted on the impact of allowing the use of non-domestic sand.
“Replenishing our shorelines protects our jobs, our environment, and our property,” said Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-21).
“Thank you for your continued efforts to allow the US Army Corps of Engineers to explore the possibility of using non-domestic sand during federal beach renourishment projects,” said Broward County Commissioner Chip LaMarca. “Further support for this issue will likely offer cost savings to the federal government and Broward County.”
This legislation is a step in the right direction to ensure that Miami-Dade’s beaches remain viable for tourism and beauty while protecting our infrastructure from erosion in a more cost-effective manner,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
“I know the importance of our beautiful beaches to the City of Miami Beach and our whole South Florida community,” said Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27). “Co-sponsoring the SAND Act is a crucial step toward ensuring that local beach renourishment projects have access to the right sand at the right cost to effectively prevent erosion that threatens homes and businesses. I will continue to work alongside my South Florida congressional delegation colleagues Lois, Carlos, Frederica, Debbie, Brian, Ted, and Charlie to protect and preserve our coasts, South Florida’s natural beauty, and one of our community’s most essential economic engines.”
“It’s time to lift the antiquated federal prohibition on replenishing Florida beaches with foreign sand,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23). “The current law hurts Florida taxpayers through all the existing long-distance hauling costs involved. Our beaches are not only vital civic treasures for our residents, they’re also a pillar of Florida’s tourism economy. We need to give our local communities more tools to keep our beaches healthy and attractive. The SAND Act will do that.”
“South Florida’s identity is inextricably linked to our world-famous beaches,” said Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22). “They’re the destination for millions of visitors a year and are key to so many small businesses and our local economy. But as climate change leads to worsening beach erosion, we are spending more to maintain these beautiful beaches. This important legislation will help save South Florida money to keep up the quality of our beaches and respond to the growing impact of climate change on our coastline.”
“Florida’s world-renowned beaches are a destination for Floridians and millions of tourists, vital to our state economy and the foundation for many small businesses,” said Congressman Daniel Webster (FL-11). “The SAND Act provides local leaders with needed cost-effective and efficient options for critical beach re-nourishment and sand restoration.”
“Florida’s beaches are its most iconic feature and a vital component of our state’s economy. If we don’t renourish them, they will gradually disappear, which would have a Domino effect on the ecosystem and inland properties. It is our duty to do all that we can to preserve and protect these natural gems,” said Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL-24).
“This bill will allow South Florida and coastal communities across the country to renourish America’s beaches in the most cost-effective way, while maintaining our pristine shores,” said Congressman Carlos Curbelo (FL-26). “Local governments have been asking Washington to end this ineffective and burdensome policy for some time and I’m confident we can build consensus for this common sense proposal.”
“Pinellas County is home to some of the world's most beautiful beaches. Renourishment projects are vital to protecting our shoreline communities and promoting our tourism industry,” said Congressman Charlie Crist (FL-13). “With climate change fueling beach erosion, these projects are more important than ever. I'm proud to be a part of this bipartisan Florida delegation effort to keep our coasts strong in a more efficient way by introducing the SAND Act.”
“The Treasure Coast's beaches are a big part of what makes our community so special,” said Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18). This bill is critical to give South Florida counties the flexibility to replenish their sand from any source and prevent fighting over our offshore sand, which is needed to sustain Treasure Coast beaches as the crown jewel of our community.”