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NEWS | June 18, 2004

NAS Key West Partners For Environmental Protection

By Bob Nelson, Commander, Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs Commander, Navy Region Southeast

The U.S. Navy strengthened its commitment to Florida's natural resources June 7, with the signing of the Natural Resources & Environmental Compliance Partnering agreement. 

Rear Adm. Annette Brown, commander, Navy Region Southeast and Capt. Jim Scholl, commanding officer, Naval Air Station (NAS) Key West, joined local and federal officials at NAS Key West to sign a charter agreement, making environmental compliance and pollution prevention a top priority at Key West naval facilities. 

"We look forward to formalizing this partnership effort," said Brown. "Balancing our operational needs while ensuring environmental compliance is an essential part of the process." 

"This agreement recognizes that the natural resources of the Florida Keys constitute a national treasure that should be preserved and protected for future generations," said Florida's Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Colleen M. Castille. "Through committed partnerships, we can support critical national defense missions while maintaining strong protection for the environment."

The Natural Resources & Environmental Compliance Partnering agreement between NAS Key West and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) aims to ensure military compliance with environmental standards, integrate environmental compliance training for military contractors, streamline the permitting process, improve waste management and increase water quality protection.

"We all are committed to preserving the delicate ecosystem of the Florida Keys through careful, coordinated planning and execution," said Scholl. 

Navy installations around the state are teaming up with DEP to achieve ecological protection and environmental compliance, while at the same time meeting vital national security requirements. Along with NAS Key West, NAS Whiting Field, NAS Pensacola, NAS Jacksonville, and NS Mayport, have forged agreements with DEP.

Achievements include the acquisition of environmentally sensitive land to protect habitat and reduce encroachment; significant waste reductions, streamlined permitting and expense savings; and certification of the NAS Key West and NAS Jacksonville marinas as DEP "Clean Marinas." 

Following the charter signing ceremony, officials toured Navy property in Key West, and together with staff from the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, learned more about the Navy's $36 million maintenance dredge project, which when completed, will allow Navy greater access to support facilities within Key West.