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Administrative Law Judge Recommends Granting Environmental Resource Permit for Chiquita Boat Lock Removal

June 10, 2024

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) has issued a Recommended Order that authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to issue an Environmental Resource Permit (ERP) to the City for the removal of the Chiquita Boat Lock. This significant development follows the conclusion of the Final Administrative Hearing pertaining to the Petitioners’ challenge surrounding the issuance of the ERP to the City, which concluded on December 20, 2023 after a multi-week evidentiary hearing.

The Final Administrative Hearing marked a crucial milestone in the process, with the ALJ ordering the Petitioner(s), along with the City and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), to provide their proposed recommended Order by April 29, 2024. After careful consideration of all relevant factors and submissions, the ALJ has now issued the attached Recommended Order in favor of issuing the City’s ERP for the removal of the Chiquita Boat Lock, concluding that the ERP meets the applicable standards set forth under Florida Law and the Florida Administrative Code.

The City acknowledges the favorable determination by the ALJ within the Recommended Order and is presently evaluating critical next steps surrounding this matter. As part of the evaluation process, the City is exploring all potential option(s) for the expeditious removal of the Chiquita Boat Lock.

The Chiquita Boat Lock removal project is of significant importance to the City, and the City remains committed to ensuring that all necessary steps are taken to address any adverse environmental concerns or impacts while also meeting the needs of the community.