District approves permit for Blue Origin manufacturing facility

PALM BAY, Fla., June 9, 2016 — St. Johns River Water Management District regulatory staff have approved a permit application for the Blue Origin manufacturing facility, which is expected to bring 330 jobs to the Space Coast.

“Our staff is committed to balancing the needs of people and Florida’s natural environment through our permitting process,” said St. Johns River Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle.”Our review and approval of the Blue Origin permit application shows how environmental protection and economic growth do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

Blue Origin, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, plans to build a $200 million facility for building and launching commercial rockets designed for orbital cargo and astronaut missions on a 139-acre property at Kennedy Space Center.

The initial phase of the project includes 11.76 acres of wetland and surface water impacts. To mitigate for the wetland and surface water impacts, Blue Origin provided a 53-acre wetlands mitigation area related to phase one of the project, as well as anticipated impacts associated with future phases of the project. Wetland mitigation measures will provide protection and enhancement of existing wetlands and creation of compensatory wetland areas.

“The district staff made extraordinary efforts to communicate the permit requirements as stated in the Florida Statutesand to understand the specific characteristics of the development constraints,” said Blue Origin project representative Michael Wheeler of The Haskell Company, based in Jacksonville.