Comment on Fish Farm Offshore Sarasota County Until Nov 4

October 12, 2020  —

1. The Virtual Hearing was successful in getting the Army Corps (USACE) to open a Comment Period on the construction permit for the Velella Epsilon Fish Farm off Sarasota’s coast.
Please send comments to the Army Corps expressing your views and requesting a public hearing at the email below by November 4. Comments “must state the specific reasons for requesting the public hearing”:
COMMENTS regarding the potential authorization of the work proposed should be submitted in writing to the attention of the District Engineer through the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302 or preferably by electronic mail at: OceanEra_VEAquaculture@usace.army.mil within 30 days from the date of this notice (i.e. November 4, 2020).
The decision whether to issue or deny this permit application will be based on the information received from this public notice and the evaluation of the probable impact general navigation pursuant to Section 10 of the RHA.
QUESTIONS concerning this application should be directed to the project manager, Katy Damico, in writing at the Tampa Permits Section, 10117 Princess Palm Avenue, Suite 120, Tampa, Florida 33610-8302 or preferably by electronic mail at : OceanEra_VEAquaculture@usace.army.mil or, by telephone at (813) 769-7076 or (813) 467-6603.
2. After the Virtual Hearing, the EPA announced the approval of the Pollution Permit for Velella Epsilon despite receipt of 44,500 comments overwhelmingly opposed, including residents, municipal officials, marine scientists, commercial fisherman and environmentalists. From the EPA report: “a substantial majority of commenters, including those who did include more detailed reasons for their opposition or support, opposed the project.”
 
3. Citizens’ groups are appealing the EPA ruling.
 
4. Although criticized by scientists and residents for basing its conclusions on old information and outdated studies, some from the 1970’s, the EPA states it is not responsible for using up-to-date information. It also refuses to consider either long-term consequences or the proposed proliferation of finfish farms in the Gulf. You can read the public’s many objections and concerns, and the EPA’s lengthy response, in the link below; scroll down to “Response to Comments,” next to last item:
To Whom it May Concern,
The final NPDES permit FL0A00001 for Velella Epsilon was issued on September 30, 2020. The final permit, fact sheet, and other supporting documents, including appeal procedures, are all posted on the EPA website at the link below-
Please send any questions to R4NPDES.Kampachi@epa.gov.
Sincerely,
EPA Region 4, Water Division
Permitting and Grants Branch
4. Recent Relevant Articles 10/6, 10/2, 9/30, 8/5:
 

Background story by WUSF.