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Environmental Groups File Petition To Challenge Port Dredging

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"Harriet" begins drilling first of two tunnels under Biscayne Bay for the new Port of Miami Tunnel.  (Source: MAT CONCESSIONAIRE LLC)

“Harriet” begins drilling first of two tunnels under Biscayne Bay for the new Port of Miami Tunnel. (Source: MAT CONCESSIONAIRE LLC)

MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The dredging project at the Port of Miami may be hitting a roadblock.

Two environmental protection groups filed a joint petition Monday challenging a billion dollar project to dredge, widen and deepen the Port.

The groups — Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper and the Tropical Audubon Society — fear the dredging and blasting of the bay could potentially destroy coral reefs and sea grass as well as marine life, including manatees.

Alexis Segal of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper says the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s permit “falls short on environmental safeguards” for Biscayne Bay and “gives multiple exemptions to state rules in place to protect the water quality.”

A spokeswoman for the DEP did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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