Featured Letter Dredging would help only oil companies

Posted: December 28, 2005

Deepening the Delaware River is not a panacea, nor would it be a boon for our river, our ports or our region. For years, it has merely been a pork-barrel project that Pennsylvania politicians have used to obtain press coverage.

The project is primarily intended to benefit the region's oil facilities. It would reduce the amount of oil they would need to off-load in the Delaware Bay, thereby reducing their overhead costs. It would not mean more jobs at the refineries or more oil, just lower costs and more profits for the oil companies - companies that aren't contributing a dime to the project.

Deepening the river would threaten jobs in some very important port industries. And if there are temporary jobs during construction, most of them would go to out-of-region workers coming in with the companies hired to do the deepening work.

What would deepening the Delaware River do? It would:

Cost more to implement than it would bring back economically to the region - a finding made by the Government Accountability Office and economic experts.

Threaten drinking water in New Jersey and Delaware with saltwater intrusion and dangerous toxic chemicals.

Potentially harm oysters, blue crabs and horseshoe crabs in the Delaware River and Delaware Bay - which are important economically and ecologically.

Threaten the endangered shortnose sturgeon in the river.

Subject New Jersey and Delaware residents to 50- to 75-foot-high piles of toxic dredge spoil - which eat up prime riverfront land and floodplain areas and reintroduce poisons and heavy metals into the environment.

Politicians, citizens, organizations and businesses from around the region have objected to deepening the Delaware River because it is not viable economically and is a major threat to health and welfare. Pennsylvania's politicians need to start looking at these facts.

Maya K. van Rossum

Delaware Riverkeeper

Washington Crossing

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