The money will help fund the effort to increase the depth of the Delaware River shipping channel from 40 to 45 feet.
The increased depth is designed to reduce shipping costs and create jobs throughout the region. “Deepening the Delaware River will bring enormous benefits to our state and has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs in our region,” says Senator Chris Coons, D-Del.
“It will help ensure the Port of Wilmington remains competitive as the Panama Canal expands, and will provide long-term security for the Port as it works to leverage private investment.”
Coons says he believes the deepening project will be done in a way that will protect the environment. A number of groups disagree with Coons. More than 50 environmental groups penned a letter to President Obama last month, urging him not to fund the deepening project. In the letter, the groups say the project “will destroy ecologically and environmentally important resources while failing to provide a sound economic return for the taxpayers’ investment.”
Current plans call for the dredge materials to be placed on seven existing federally owned sites in New Jersey and Delaware. The Army Corps says these sites have been in use for routine maintenance of the channel since World War II. Sand dredged from Delaware Bay will be used for wetland restoration and beach nourishment on the Delaware side.