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Delaware Riverkeeper turns in 7,543 pages of comment on Delaware deepening proposal

Responding to a June 6, 2011 notice allowing for public comment on the proposed Delaware River Main Channel Deepening Project, the Delaware Riverkeeper delivered a substantialcomment totaling 7,543 pages and weighing 72 pounds.
 
“The Army Corps has long held the public, other agencies, and experts at arms length on this project, not providing in over 14 years the legally required opportunity to comment on environmental studies required by law for the project,” says Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.  “In those 14 years there have been dramatic changes in the River, in our knowledge of the River, in the species that will be affected by this project, and in the level of science and information wehave about the effects the Deepening Project would have on our communities and environment.  So we had a lot to say,” van Rossum asserts.  “The 2008 call for public comment was so general as to be of no value, and the Army Corps ignored anything folks had to say.”
 
The comments provided by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network cover impacts to species that are at risk of extinctionsuch as Atlantic Sturgeon, Shortnose Sturgeon, migratory shorebirds, and sea turtles.  The Delaware Riverkeeper Document also addresses the economic failings of the project and how it will affect jobs dependent upon oysters, horseshoe crabs and more.  And the Delaware Riverkeeper Network comment points out the new studies by New Jersey and Delaware documenting pollution and harm that will result form the project; as well as the Army Corps’ own admissions of how they have undervalued the spoils and harms of the project.
 
The public notice originally only allowed15 days for comment.  Responding to calls for an extension of time the Army Corps extended the comment period by 15 days, to just after the federal 4th of July holiday.  “The Army Corps has longed used this strategy of opening the door for comments during the time frames that span major holidays including Christmas and New Years for the 2008 comment that lackedclarity on its legal underpinnings; and now the 4th of July Holiday on which all federal agencies, most state agencies, and many environmental and community organizations concerned with this project are closed and workers have planned family holidays.  But this project is such a major threat to our River and region, we don’t let the Army Corps’ childish and transparent tactics stymie us,” says van Rossum.  She finishes, “In 2008 they may have tried to ruin Christmas for my kids, this year it was our 4th of July family holiday, but we won’t let them ruin our River for their future and all future generations.”
 
To see a copy of the Delaware RiverkeeperNetwork comment go to www.delawareriverkeeper.org.

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