Environmental Conservation

Delaware Audubon Continues to Oppose Delaware River Deepening

Sees little, if any economic benefit to the state

While Delaware and regional politicians are promoting or supporting the deepening of the Delaware River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Delaware Audubon is presenting evidence from the independent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that counteracts claims of economic benefit to the region. The GAO is the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress.

Several municipalities and state government officials have gone on record supporting the deepening of the Delaware River, because they believe that the project will result in more jobs at the Ports of Wilmington and Philadelphia. According to Mark Martell, president of the Delaware Audubon Society, "Delaware Audubon wants to focus on the most damning aspects of the project -- and they are the poor economic analysis for the region and the State of Delaware's limited benefits, if any, from the project."

Delaware Audubon quoted from the recent GAO report, which said: "...market and industry conditions have changed significantly in ways that raise questions about the Corps' project benefit estimates going forward."

Is there evidence to support the state officials claims of economic benefits and jobs? Maybe not. "Consequently," the GAO went on, "decision makers do not have the updated information necessary to indicate whether the market and industry changes that have occurred would affect the project's net benefits."

On September 13, 2010, Delaware Audubon submitted comments on the dredging of the Delaware River, also known as the Deepening Project. Click here to view a complete copy of our commentary, available as a slide show in PDF format.