Delaware River dredging will go on without protest from Delaware

The state of Delaware will allow the dredging of the Delaware River to go on without an appeal of a U.S. District Court order.

The issue was whether DNREC (Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) would appeal a ruling which allowed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue to deepen the main shipping channel of the Delaware River and Bay. 

DNREC argued the corps needed state permits.  Delaware officials had expressed concerns of environmental harm in the dredging efforts.  An earlier court ruling in January 2010 allowed the process to begin.  Last spring dredging did take place along the channel going slightly north of Delaware City.

Now DNREC believes there is not point in continuing litigation against the Army Corps.  “After the Court’s decision in early 2010, we followed through on our commitment to the Court and invested a great deal of effort to quickly and comprehensively consider the Corps’ permit application,” said DNREC Secretary Collin P. O’Mara. “The Court’s recent decision made clear that it does not believe the State has any role in oversight of this project. We respectfully disagree. However, we will not continue to divert resources and thousands of hours of technical and legal staff away from other important projects.” 

DNREC adds that it will share its information on water quality, wildlife habitats, and what safeguards should be put in place for dredging deposits.  Most of that material is being used to rebuild Kelly Island along the central Kent County coastline.

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