Alert: Delaware River Deepening
On November 17, 2011 Senator Chris Coons filed an amendment to an appropriations bill that would increase the chances of securing federal funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to deepen the Delaware River (click here for the press release). The economic justifications for this measure include increasing freight traffic to Delaware River ports, which would create jobs.
These economic benefits have been questioned by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 2002 the GAO affirmed that the “Corps’ analysis substantially overestimated project benefits” and that the “Corps’ analysis of project benefits contained or was based on miscalculations, invalid assumptions, and outdated information” (GAO-02-604, page 5). More recently in 2010, the GAO found that the financial analysis conducted by the Corps did not include a realistic economic outlook. As a result, the GAO suggests that "decision makers do not have the updated information necessary to indicate whether the market and industry changes that have occurred would affect the project’s net benefits" (GAO-10-402, page 22).
The environmental costs have also been overlooked by the Corps. Analysis conducted by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network found that the impacts of deepening on the river environment would be profound. These include pushing the salt-line further upstream, which would compromise drinking-water supplies and would also harm the habitat of endangered and native species in the river and freshwater wetlands. The spawning habitat of the horseshoe crab would also be impacted by dredging, and the contaminant-laden dredged sediment would reintroduce heavy metals and toxins into the river environment and land areas covered in sediment spoils. By reintroducing these buried contaminants back into the environment, deepening the Delaware River would exacerbate fish consumption advisories in the Delaware River and Bay and would threaten public health.
Your Letters are Needed
Please write your elected officials today and ask them to oppose the Army Corps of Engineers' plan to deepen the Delaware River.
- Congressman John Carney, 233 N King Street, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: (302) 691-7333, Fax: (302) 428-1950
- Senator Chris Coons, 233 N King Street, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: (302) 691-7333, Fax: (302) 428-1950
- Senator Thomas R. Carper, 301 North Walnut Street, Suite 102L-1, Wilmington, DE 19801-3974, Phone: (302) 573-6291, Fax: (302) 573-6434
Please consider also sending an email copy of your letter to:
- President Barack Obama, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vice President Joe Biden, email@example.com
Please send a copy of your letter to Governor Markell as he is also a supporter of this funding effort.
- Governor Jack Markell, Carvel State Office Bldg., 820 N. French Street, 12th Fl., Wilmington, DE 19801, Phone: (302) 577-3210, Fax: (302) 577-3118
Photo credit: Amy Roe