On March 17, 2015, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) withdrew the Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) previously awarded to the Summers End Group citing “the formal comments from internal and external federal agencies, other environmental interests, and the general public … in response to the (Summers End Group’s) Major Land and Water permit applications submitted to your Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program, as well as in response to (SEG’s) Army Corps of Engineers permit application and Public Notice SAJ-2004-12518 (SP-JMS). We have also reviewed and responded to numerous formal letters, complaints, comments and general emails sent to the Service from concerned citizens and groups.”
The original BIG award was for $1,274,000 and was granted to VI DPNR as the “grantee” to be used by the “subgrantee” – the Summers End Group. Of this total, up to $303,000 was allowed for pre-construction costs, including studies, engineering, permitting, and similar items. The USFWS through this letter is allowing DPNR to file for up to $303,000 in allowable costs (following the VI DPNR Audit High Risk Status Resolution Plan) and then withdrawing the remainder of the grant, approximately $1 million.
This represents a major victory for environmental review, with the FWS taking the unusual step of tacitly acknowledging that the applicant was ineligible for the grant award due to the significant environmental impacts of the project. All who were involved in contesting the grant should be congratulated for their efforts on behalf of the Coral Bay environment. The full text of the FWS grant rescission letter is shown below.