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Press Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 17, 2010
CONTACT: Dee Ann Miller, (850) 245-2112, or (850) 519-2898

Statement from Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael W. Sole Regarding the “Save our Beaches” U.S. Supreme Court Order

 

“We are extremely pleased with today’s order from the United States Supreme Court which upholds Florida’s position regarding the importance of beach restoration. Florida’s Beaches and Shore Preservation Act implements the State’s constitutional duty to protect Florida’s beaches, and achieves a reasonable balance between public and private interests in the shore.

“This unanimous decision affirms the Florida Supreme Court’s conclusion that Florida Department of Environmental Protection implementation of the erosion control program and beach nourishment provides a significant level of storm protection benefits for upland properties and infrastructure, restores the recreational beach, and achieves a reasonable balance of public and private interest in the shore.

“Beaches have multiple benefits including protection from storm surges, providing habitat for plants and animals, enhancing property values, providing recreational space and providing employment, wages, and income to the state. For every dollar invested in beach restoration, the State receives a $6 to $8 economic return in state taxes from the more than 27 million visitors that visit the states beaches annually.”

To view the ruling, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/secretary/news/2010/06/files/08_1151.pdf.

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TIMELINE

1995: The City of Destin’s and Walton County’s Gulf of Mexico beaches were identified by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as critically eroded. The City and County then initiated a beach restoration project covering 6.9 miles, which includes extensive studies and project construction design.

JULY 30, 2003: The City and County applied for a Joint Coastal Permit and Authorization to Use Sovereign Submerged Lands.

JULY 15, 2004: DEP issued a Notice of Intent to Issue the permit.

August 10, 2004 and August 30, 2004: Two groups, Save Our Beaches, Inc. and Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., filed petitions for a formal administrative hearing challenging issuance of the permit. Stop the Beach Renourishment also filed a petition challenging the Erosion Control Line established by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund in conjunction with the proposed beach restoration project, but later amended its petition to abandon this challenge. The Erosion Control Line established the line between state-owned land below mean high water and privately-owned land above mean high water.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2004: The two cases were consolidated for administrative hearing.

JUNE 7, 2005: The administrative hearing addressed whether the City of Destin and Walton County gave reasonable assurances that applicable water quality standards will not be violated.

JUNE 30, 2005: The Administrative Law Judge’s recommended order found that Destin and Walton County gave reasonable assurances that the applicable water quality standard will not be violated, and recommended that DEP issue the permit.

JULY 27, 2005: DEP signed a Final Order issuing the permit and on July 28, 2005, the accompanying authorization (Final Permit) was issued. The petitioners appealed.

APRIL 28, 2006: The First District Court of Appeal issued an opinion disagreeing with the Department’s decision, stating that the permit and erosion control line were invalid and that a taking of riparian rights had occurred. The First District Court of Appeal denied DEP's Motion for Rehearing, but certified a question of great public importance to the Florida Supreme Court. The Department requested that the Florida Supreme Court grant discretionary review of the First District Court of Appeal's decision, based on the certified question and conflict with another Florida Supreme Court decision.

APRIL 19, 2007: The Florida Supreme Court accepted discretionary review of the district court’s decision, and the case was fully briefed, with oral argument held on April 14, 2007.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2008: The Florida Supreme Court issued an Opinion holding that the Beach and Shore Preservation Act achieves a reasonable balance between public and private interests. Further, the Act, on its face, does not unconstitutionally deprive upland owners of property rights without just compensation when the state is restoring beaches under the Act.

OCTOBER 14, 2008: Respondent Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. filed a motion with the Florida Supreme Court for rehearing.

DECEMBER 18, 2008: The Florida Supreme Court issued an order denying the motion for rehearing.

MARCH 13, 2009: Stop the Beach Nourishment, Inc. filed a petition of writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court.

JUNE 15, 2009: The Unites States Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari.

AUGUST 13, 2009: Stop the Beach Nourishment, Inc. filed its opening brief.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009: DEP and Walton County/City of Destin filed their briefs in opposition.

SEPTEMBER 28, 2009: The Supreme Court scheduled oral argument for Wednesday, December 2, 2009.

DECEMBER 2, 2009: Oral argument.

JUNE 17, 2010: The Unites States Supreme Court issued a unanimous Opinion concluding that the Florida Supreme Court did not take private property without just compensation in violation of the United States Constitution in its ruling governing the restoration of our beaches.

Michael W. Sole

Michael W. Sole
DEP Secretary

10–104

Last updated: June 18, 2010

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