PANAMA CITY, Fla.—The Panama City-Bay County International Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority) announced in mid-August that it had received a Section 404 Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for construction of the relocated Panama City—Bay County International Airport on land being donated by The St. Joe Company. The Section 404 Permit was the final permit necessary before the Airport Authority can begin construction of the relocated airport.

"This final major permit represents a significant achievement that started with a commitment by Bay County, the state of Florida, St. Joe Company, and local environmental leaders to create an airport that would serve Northwest Florida for many decades to come and at the same time permanently protect West Bay," said Peter S. Rummell, chairman and CEO of St. Joe. "With the relocation of the airport comes the creation of the West Bay Preservation Area and an opportunity to protect 41,000 acres of the West Bay watershed, including 33 miles of undeveloped shoreline and an additional 44 miles of tributaries and creeks."

The new airport site is located north of West Bay in a recently-harvested planted-pine plantation. The New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council had previously filed a challenge to the Record of Decision by the Federal Aviation Administration authorizing the airport relocation. However, the ROD remains in force until a federal court rules otherwise.