Florida Black Community’s Progress Is Threatened by Proposed LNG Plant

"Leaders in North Port St. Joe had big plans for tourism, real estate, even a Black history museum. Then they found out, almost by accident, that elected officials had been pushing the LNG terminal for years without telling them."

"PORT ST. JOE, Fla.—Not long ago, this rural coastal town in the Florida Panhandle was home to a thriving Black community, with locally owned shops and restaurants and plentiful jobs at the nearby paper mill.

Their community fell into decay after the paper mill closed in 1999, but today residents have big plans for restoring and uniting it, finally, with the white side of town.

They envision a reinvented Martin Luther King Boulevard, the main thoroughfare here, with mixed-use development, extended sidewalks and a new Black history museum. They had crafted a redevelopment plan with the community’s beachy location making tourism and real estate opportunities the centerpiece.

To support their dream, the residents had secured three grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, together totaling $850,000, for health and housing needs, repairs after Hurricane Michael in 2018 and a legacy of pollution left by the paper mill. They just garnered another one in April from the Biden administration, aimed at finding nature-based solutions for frequent flooding affecting the community."

Amy Green reports for Inside Climate News May 7, 2023.

Source: Inside Climate News, 05/08/2023