A U.S. appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday on a $300 million project to deepen the Delaware River to allow for more shipping traffic.
Officials in New Jersey have joined five environmental groups to try to stop the dredging. Pennsylvania and Philadelphia port officials support it.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already begun work to deepen the 103-mile channel between Philadelphia and the Atlantic Ocean from a depth of 40 feet to 45 feet.
Environmental groups and New Jersey officials fear the dredging could stir up toxic sediment, endanger drinking water and hurt fisheries. Supporters say a deeper channel is needed to compete with other ports for shipping traffic and tens of thousands of related jobs.
Federal funds are supposed to pay two-thirds of the cost.