Return to Comments by Members

Letters Needed Now!

Submitted by Christine Whitehead

Please Take a Moment to Help Protect the Delaware from Unnecessary and Damaging Deepening and to Protect Our States from Being Stepped on by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Delaware Deepening has been demonstrated to be a bad economic investment that threatens drinking water supplies, important fisheries and bird life, tidal wetlands of ecological and flood protection value, already threatened and endangered species, the water quality of the Delaware River and the health of its inhabitants.

Even though the Army Corps does not have needed permits and approvals from both Delaware and New Jersey, they have issued a first notice soliciting bids to begin deepening the Delaware River from 40 to 45 feet. This is a tremendous challenge to the rights of our States to protect their communities and environments from damaging federal projects.

The Army Corps has already stated, on the record, that it is going to ignore their legal obligation to secure a Coastal Zone Consistency Determination from the State of New Jersey. Additionally, they are refusing to acknowledge the agreement made between the Governors last year stating that Pennsylvania would take all of the dredge spoils and address all of the environmental issues before the project could move forward.

The Army Corps has been unable to get a Subaqueous Lands and Wetlands Permit from the State of Delaware since it filed its permit application in 2001. The Army Corps is now taking the position they are not legally obligated to get this permit and can chose to move forward without it.

At the same time, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is in the midst of its third economic review of this project. The Army Corps is refusing to await the outcome of this review.

It is critical that our Governors and the Federal Delegations in both New Jersey and Delaware hear loud and clear from their constituents that we do not want the Delaware deepened and that they should stand firm against the Army Corps, protecting the rights of New Jersey and Delaware to review and approve the project (or not) in order to fulfill their obligation to protect the environment and economies of their state and its residents.

Please fax your letter now, if you are unable to get to a fax then mail or email your letter to the Delaware Riverkeeper at keeper@delawareriverkeeper.org and the letter will be faxed for you.

A personal letter will be the most effective so please add your personal touch so they know how much you care. In the text be sure to say (either verbatim or in your own words):

  • The Delaware River deepening proposal is an unacceptable threat to our River, environments, community and economy.
  • The deepening is not necessary as the ports have shown record growth in recent years without a deepened channel.
  • The Government Accountability Office has previously found that the project costs more to undertake than would be gained -- i.e. for every dollar spent there will be less than 50 cents of benefit.
  • The project primarily benefits 6 oil facilities, none of whom are contributing to the project or have committed to take advantage of it if implemented – why should the taxpayers pay for a project that the beneficiaries aren’t clamoring for?
  • The debate over the deepening involves a critical matter of States’ rights. The Army Corps should not be allowed to move forward without fulfilling its legal obligation to secure a Delaware State Subaqueous Lands and Wetlands permit and a New Jersey Coastal Zone Consistency Determination for the project. Our Governors and Congressional Representatives in both the House and Senate should steadfastly, and legally, enforce these obligations.
  • The Army Corps should be required to await the outcome of the ongoing Government Accountability Office review and produce an up-to-date and legally defensible Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) addressing all of the new and outstanding information provided by agencies and experts since the last EIS was completed in 1997 before taking any steps to move the project forward or secure funding.
  • And the Governors and our Congressional Representatives in both the House and Senate should stand firmly in defense of our States’ rights and vigorously oppose federal taxpayer funding for this project.

To your elected officials: we thank you for your efforts to date on the deepening, and urge you to redouble your efforts and take whatever legal and legislative steps you can.

Fax your letters to your state Governor, both of your State’s Senators, and your congressional representative – contact information below, and please copy your letter to President Obama (fax below) and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network via email keeper@delawareriverkeeper.org or mail to 300 Pond St, Bristol, PA 19007.

All:
President Obama (202) 456-2461
Delaware Riverkeeper Network (215) 369-1181

New Jersey:
Governor Corzine (609) 292-3454
Senator Lautenberg (856) 338-8936
Senator Menendez (856) 546-1526
Congressman Andrews (856) 546-9529
Congressman Lobiondo (202) 225-3318
Congressman Holt (609) 750-0618
Congressman Lance (908) 788-2869
Congressman Adler (856) 985-2788

Delaware:
Governor Markell (302) 739-2775
Senator Carper (302) 573-6434
Senator Kauffman (302) 573-6345
Congressman Castle (302) 428-1950


Return to Comments by Members

Posted: FLR -