Back in October we told you about a fund that was set up to fight proposed marina in Coral Bay. It was astonishing how quickly money was raised – more than $8,000 during the first weekend and more than $75,000 to date. Today we’d like to tell you that the money is being put to use and that a notice of action was filed last Friday. Here are the details straight from the Save Coral Bay Fund…
“The Save Coral Bay Fund, with the full support of the Coral Bay Community Council, announced (last week) that it is partnering with the Virgin Islands Conservation Society (VICS) to initiate legal action against the development of the St. John Marina proposed by The Summers End Group, LLC, for Coral Bay Harbor, in St John, US Virgin Islands. Later this week VICS will be filing appeals against permits granted to the marina developers by the St. John Coastal Zone Management committee.
“Following unprecedented public outcry against a marina that would be destructive to federally listed endangered sea turtle habitat, endangered coral species, and a prime nursery for lemon and black tip sharks, a grass roots movement has quickly drawn over $75,000 in financial support from hundreds of people inside and outside of the Virgin Islands who are opposed to this project. The Save Coral Bay Fund is supported by residents of all of the US Virgin Islands, business owners, frequent visitors, mariners, marine biologists, realtors, and people from all walks of life who see this proposed mega marina as the most threatening development ever to be considered for the island of St John. All financial donations to the Save Coral Bay Fund are being managed by the Coral Bay Community Council, a 501(c)(3) non- profit organization.
“The Virgin Islands Conservation Society has an over 45 year track record of successes in protecting the natural environment of the USVI. VICS has successfully fought to prevent environmentally destructive development from damaging the fragile ecosystems of the Virgin Islands and encouraging responsible development.
“The partnership has retained legal counsel to oppose the proposed development. At the VI territorial level, attorney Jennifer Jones (vienvironmentallaw.com) will be the lead counsel, assisted by attorney Andrew Simpson (coralbrief.com) as chief litigation counsel. Between the two, these attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully fighting environmental cases in the Virgin Islands. Jennifer Jones said ‘The numerous problems with these applications and the manner in which they were reviewed will all be noted in the filing with the Board of Land Use Appeals. This is an important environmental case that will highlight how the Coastal Zone Management Commission reviews CZM applications and whether it truly protects the environment and the public’s interest.’
“To handle aspects of the lengthy federal multi-agency regulatory review process coordinated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the nationally known environmental and energy law firm, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox (mankogold.com) is providing pro bono legal services. The Save Coral Bay Fund is extremely fortunate to have the services of partners Robert Fox and Jonathan Rinde of the Manko firm. They bring extensive experience in regulatory compliance and litigation in federal environmental law.
“David Silverman, spokesperson for the Save Coral Bay Fund, said ‘I am thrilled that VICS is lending their vast experience in environmental protection to this vital cause. The voices that have been raised in opposition to the marina proposal of the Summers End Group will now have an effective channel through which to pursue appeals and, if necessary, litigation in our territorial and federal courts. We applaud VICS for standing up with us to fight for our Virgin Islands environment.’
“Jason Budsan, President, Virgin Islands Conservation Society, said ‘The protection of our natural environment is the prime mission of VICS. We stand with the people of Coral Bay , St John and all responsible Virgin Islanders in their opposition to this environmentally destructive marina development. Our voice was heard at the public hearing, and now we are adding the voice of hundreds of St John residents to our firm stance in this critical matter.'”
We’ll keep you all posted on this…