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by SEAN KINNEYPosted – Wednesday, July 13, 2011 11:00 AM EDT 

Environmental groups are turning to Facebook to raise awareness of dredging and impacts from larger cruise ship vessels in Key West Harbor.

This comes in advance of Wednesday’s public workshop to discuss possible expansion of Key West’s shipping channel.

The proposal calls for widening the channel by 150 feet, allowing larger cruise ships to safely navigate in a 450-foot wide channel leading into Key West Harbor.

David Lybrand, a vice president of Last Stand, said the city could not readily accommodate the 5,000-plus passengers that can fit on new, larger cruise ships like Royal Caribbean’s the 1,187-foot Oasis of the Seas.

Lybrand also rejected arguments from those who say that not dredging would deter cruise lines from future ports-of-call in the Southernmost City.

” A lot of people are trying to cloud the issue, implying that if we don’t do this the cruise ship industry will just shut down here, ” Lybrand said. ” If we don’t dredge, all these people will be out of jobs. That’s just ridiculous. ”

Beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday, members of the Key West City Commission will hear from dredging experts from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and environmental reps from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The meeting will be held at Old City Hall on Greene Street. Read the full article: