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St. Johns River Dredging Forum To Be Held Tuesday Night

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Maersk Line
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JAXPORT

  The plans to deepen as much as 13 miles of the St. Johns River from 40 to 47 feet are the subject of a public forum Tuesday night.

The Jacksonville Port Authority says the extra depth is needed for JAXPORT to compete for the much larger cargo ships that will soon be coming through the Panama Canal.

Environmentalists, however, say the project could compromise water quality and destroy many of the river’s ecosystems.

Billee Bussard is with the Beaches Democratic Club which is sponsoring the forum.

“We assembled a panel of experts to discuss the prospects of deepening but maybe alternatives such as offshore offloading,” Bussard said. "We’ve asked all the panelists to address that as well as present their arguments for and against.”

The list of panelists includes JAXPORT CEO Brian Taylor, David Jaffee who heads up the University of North Florida’s Ports Project and John Orth with the St. Johns Riverkeeper. The forum starts at Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Neptune Beach Public Library.