In a letter from the Attorney General's Office of Delaware Beau Biden stated
“Today, we argued that state and federal law requires the Army Corps of Engineers to receive state
approval before deepening the Delaware River within Delaware’s boundaries,”
“Therefore, we asked the United States District Court for the District of Delaware court to issue a
preliminary injunction to stop the Corps’ dredging activities until it applies for and obtains the required
Delaware permits. We thank the Court for expeditiously reviewing this matter.”
Delaware’s Subaqueous Lands and Wetlands Acts require any federal agency to secure state approval before
conducting the type of dredging proposed by the Corps. What was not mentioned in the letter, the US Army Corps
of Engineers applied to the State of Delaware for these permits under Former Gov Ruth Ann Miner. The proposals
were never approved nor denied until 2009. The letter also does not include other facts that were presented in the
case. Scientific Studies showed there was no evidence of serious harm on the Delaware Estuary and the
environment. It also did not include that this is a project that has been done since the 1800's where the original
depth of the channel was but 18 Feet. Tthe US Army Corps of Engineers has conducted projects of Dredging
Delaware River’s main channel regularly to maintain its 40-foot depth. The last time the river was deepened was
1942. ,The project has been repeatedly proven economically viable as well.
Chairman Brian Preski, Esq., Chairman of the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority, said: "Once we get down to
45 feet,” , we’ll see an increase of 2.5 million tons of cargo and 1,300 more jobs. And these are not low-paying
jobs. The Port of Philadelphia employs 51,000 people in good, family-sustaining jobs, with an average salary of
Another reason why to dredged is Being capable of being competitive with other ports, such as the Port of New
York & New Jersey which is aggressively moving ahead to deepen its own channel to 50 feet. “ ,” “We have
tremendous competition from both the north and south of us. They’re not resting on their laurels and we can’t
afford to, either.” Mr Preski Stated.
Every port authority in the country is working on plans such as is being fought against by the Beau Biden and the
distinguished sister agency, The Delaware River Port Authority. It makes me doubt their mission to facilitate trade
along the Delaware River.
The time for politics as usual in the state of Delware is is over,. As Chairman Preski Stated: “We need to dredge
The law makes clear that before issuing permits, the State must weigh the environmental harms posed by potential
water pollution. The Environmental Impact Statement associated with the project has been approved at both the
federal and state levels, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the
states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. All have agreed the project can be safely undertaken without
damaging the environment of the Delaware Estuary.
According to an article publshied by the Philadelphia Port Autority
In addition to attracting shipping lines whic require deeper drafts for their vessels, dredging the Delaware Estuary
to 45 feet would also aid commercial development along the river. An example of this: it would integral to the
development of the Philadelphia Region Port Authority's (PRPA) proposed Southport terminal, Pproposing to be
the first major expansion of Pennsylvania’s international seaport facilities in 35 years. The Southport Project would
develop for maritime-industrial purposes a 87-acre area directly south of the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal and
Walt Whitman Bridge.
How would dredging help the SouthPort project?
Millions of cubic yards of the materials collected during the channel deepening project would be used to aid the
Southport effort, filling in the areas between Piers 122 & 124, as well as a parcel at the east end of the
Philadelphia Naval shipyard. These are areas that need to be filled in to create the necessary acreage for this
“Southport is a perfect example of how we’re attempting to deal with the issue of dredged material,” said Chairman
Preski. “For years, New Jersey has told us that it doesn’t want to be our dumping ground. Now we’re able to
handle our fair share of the dredged materials from the channel deepening project.”
Furthermore, current plans call for nearly seven million cubic yards of sand dredged from the Delaware River to
be used to restore beaches in New Jersey and Delaware, thus saving millions of dollars in restoration fees.
“That’s an interesting fact about the Delaware River that I never knew,” Chairman Preski said recently. “The
Delaware River is not a mud-bottom river; there’s sand under there. So when you dig up that material, the Army
Corps tells us that it’s good enough to replenish the beaches, and it’s good enough for mine reclamation.”
AG’s Office presents state’s anti-dredging case very well, says AG’s Office
December 9, 2009 by leewilliamscri
December 8, 2009
Delaware makes forceful argument in court to stop Army Corps of Engineers from dredging
Wilmington, DE – Today, the Delaware Attorney General’s office presented oral arguments before the United
States District Court for the District of Delaware in its October 30, 2009 complaint for injunctive and declaratory
relief to order the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) to comply with Delaware law prior to dredging in
“Today, we argued that state and federal law requires the Army Corps of Engineers to receive state approval
before deepening the Delaware River within Delaware’s boundaries,” Attorney General Biden stated. “Therefore,
we asked the United States District Court for the District of Delaware court to issue a preliminary injunction to stop
the Corps’ dredging activities until it applies for and obtains the required Delaware permits. We thank the Court
for expeditiously reviewing this matter.”
A decision by District Court Judge Sue Robinson is expected in the coming weeks.
On October 23, 2009, the Corps notified Delaware that it intends to proceed with a plan to dredge the shipping
channel of the Delaware River despite failing to first obtain required Delaware environmental permits. The
proposed project would deepen the channel by at least five feet from the mouth of the Delaware Bay to the ports
of Philadelphia and Camden. Much of this project lies partially or wholly within Delaware territory.
Delaware’s Subaqueous Lands and Wetlands Acts require a federal agency to secure state approval before
conducting the type of dredging proposed by the Corps. The law makes clear that before issuing permits, the
State must weigh the environmental harms posed by potential water pollution. Moreover, the Corps is required by
the federal Clean Water Act to comply with State water pollution requirements and to obtain necessary state
permits before it can begin any dredging project that could result in polluted discharge or runoff.
# # #
Jason P. Miller
Public Information Officer
Delaware Department of Justice
820 N. French Street, 6th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
(302) 893-8939 (cell)
(302) 577-6626 (fax)