CBS Highlights Florida Green Project Turned Eco-Disaster

December 18th, 2015 11:11 AM

Environmentalism is a disaster.

CBS Evening News reported that Ft. Lauderdale found itself in an ecological disaster after a local government sponsored the dumping of millions of tires in the city’s waters. In its Dec. 16 broadcast, CBS said that used tires, originally intended to form artificial reefs for new fish, dispersed and created an untenable living space for the city’s wildlife.

Military and private boats littered Ft. Lauderdale’s ocean floor with used tires after government officials sponsored a massive dumping project that ruined the ocean’s habitat. “It started as a way to get rid of tires clogging up landfills back in 1970,” CBS reporter Barry Petersen explained. “Up to 2 million tires bundled by metal clips were dumped here to create an artificial reef.”

The project’s designers thought transplanting millions of used tires would form an artificial reef and attract new fish. But as the metal rings holding together the tires dissolved, so did hopes of a viable habitat for new fish. Moved by currents and storms, the tires not only failed to provide a stable home for fish, but they damaged an actual reef that could have been home to new wildlife.

“The hope was that they would spur coral growth and attract fish. All good for the environment. Really good idea, really bad outcome,” Petersen said.  

The state of Florida hired Industrial Divers Corp. of Fort Lauderdale to remove the tires. Despite government efforts to clean up the mess, however, CBS reported that only 160,000 tires will be removed.

Several decades ago, fishing captains sought a better habitat for Ft. Lauderdale waters in hopes of attracting more fish. Around the same time, clogged landfills struggled to deal with an excess of used tires. As a solution, the non-profit Broward Artificial Reef Inc. (BARINC) proposed dumping tires in the ocean to create an artificial reef.

The project seemed like a great idea at the time. Both the Broward County government and the US Army Corps of Engineers endorsed the endeavor. Goodyear Tire and Rubber even provided equipment for the project, and dropped a gold-painted tire in the water as celebration. But for all the support and celebration, the project turned out to be a big flop.

A former employee of BARINC Ray Mcallister reportedly lamented the terrible outcome of the tire-dumping idea. "The really good idea was to provide habitat for marine critters so we could double or triple marine life in the area," McAllister said according to the Associated Press. "It just didn't work that way. I look back now and see it was a bad idea."

CBS has shown a bias on environmental issues, and climate change in particular, but deserves credit for this story.

Earlier this year, CBS coverage bypassed the role that environmental regulations played in creating California’s drought, and instead portrayed the state’s water shortage as a necessary of consequence of climate change. ABC, NBC, and CBS pushed the narrative that climate change caused a water shortage, and failed to mention that environmental regulations prevented California from reserving tons of water for future droughts.