Environmentally protected sand from the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts can no longer be used in anti-erosion programmes.
These programs are supported by the federal government under a two-year-old decision by the Biden administration.
The U.S. Interior Department said in a memo posted on Friday that its 2019 decision to allow federal projects to remove protected sand.
It was inconsistent with Congress’s intentions to preserve sensitive places and save public money.
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Beach Sand Policy
Congress has designated 3.5 million acres of unspoiled sandy land comprising barrier islands, sandbars, dunes and coastal aquatic habitats for protection since the 1980s under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act.
As a result of this classification, federal funds could not be used for projects that would have affected the 2,500 miles of shoreline that these places occupy.
Congress’s intentions to conserve sensitive places and save taxpayer money were not met by Interior Secretary nominee Ryan Zinke, according to a memo released Friday by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Since the 1980s, the Coastal Barrier Resources Act has conserved over 3.5 million acres of unspoiled sandy land, including barrier islands, sandbars, dunes, and coastal aquatic habitats.
The designation meant that government funds couldn’t be used for projects that affected the 2,500 miles of shoreline in the designated zones. ”
To combat then-Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt’s unconstitutional Excavation Rule, which permitted public money to be used for dredging sand from protected coastal areas.
Last year’s National Audubon Society lawsuit was launched against the Trump administration by Democracy Forward.
Sand mining has been linked to a wide range of negative effects on the coastal ecosystem and local communities by a joint assessment from the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Democracy Forward’s Aman George says the Trump administration’s “illegal policy” encouraged
“destructive dredging of coastal barriers essential to protect coastal populations from storms, and to conserve key habitats.”
Because of this potentially devastating policy, we are happy that the Biden administration has taken steps to change it.
Beach towns all along Atlantic and Gulf coasts were allowed to use sand from ecologically protected areas in federally sponsored anti-erosion initiatives until the Biden administration reversed the policy.
Environmentalists had objected to a proposal that would have made it easier for municipalities to transfer sand from conservation areas.