I am hard pressed to think of a letter from the Miami Herald to the paper's critics that so clearly state its case on environmental harm than this one:
The City of Miami Beach has invested $500 million to keep the city dry during King tides, now considerably higher than historical averages because of global warming. The water pumped by the City back into Biscayne Bay may not meet water quality standards and will likely require a NPDES permit; a federal requirement that can impose major costs on polluters.
Taxpayers ultimately bear the costs of pollution, and taxpayers everywhere are soon going to see the real, disabling costs to coastal water quality as a result of rising sea levels.
The bottom line is that in South Florida -- and much of the rest of the state -- we have allowed building at the coastline like there is no tomorrow. What this expression fails to capture is the essence of living atop a porous geology -- limestone formations constructed of fossilized coral reef -- called karst. This sponge we build atop soaks in everything that falls from the sky. Rainfall. Plus everything that we put on top of streets and farms: from petrochemicals to nitrogen and phosphorous.
That is why the South Florida is acutely vulnerable to sea level rise. Long before homes are flooded, billions of dollars of water management infrastructure will start to fail. The City of Miami and its elected officials took offense at the Miami Herald and its critics because they believed the $500 million pump systems was something to crow about to the world. "This is how we are addressing climate change."
What the Miami Herald wrote, in response, by quoting experts was in effect, "Not so fast." ... I wish they had done the same with Big Sugar and the Everglades, but that is another story and one it is not too late to tell.