Plans to deepen a channel in the Delaware River appear to be be stuck in the mud again.
Plans to deepen a channel in the Delaware River appear to be be stuck in the mud again. A dredging deal between the governors of New Jersey and Pennsylvania is creating tension on both sides of the river.
In 2007, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell seemed to clear the way by agreeing to take the material dredged from the river bottom. New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine dropped his opposition after Rendell promised to use the spoils to fill in abandoned mines in Pennsylvania.
But the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the project, has no plans to send any spoils to Pennsylvania mines.
Maya von Rossum is with the Delaware Riverkeeper. She calls the agreement a bait and switch.
von Rossum: And that’s why what Governor Rendell did was so reprehensible and what Governor Corzine did was so stupid. Governor Corzine allowed himself to be duped and Governor Rendell knowingly misrepresented the facts on the record.
von Rossum’s group is one of several environmental organizations suing over the project.
Dan Fee is a spokesman for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority. Fee says the agreement between the two states had clear limits.
Fee: One of the clauses in there was that after the Army Corps of Engineers was done with their process for treating materials, that Pennsylvania will take any remainders. We’ve always been open to accepting them but we really don’t have a say in it.
Fee says more than two dozen studies show the economic benefits outweigh any environmental threats.
Environmentalists and Delaware officials will be in court Tuesday trying to halt the planned dredging.