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Public Statements

Letter To Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army - Economic Prosperity of the

PA Delegation Keeps Up Pressure on Deepening the Delaware

The Southeast Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, led by Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.), this week reiterated their support for the Army Corps' decision to proceed on deepening the Delaware River as the project faces the possibility of more delays. In a letter to Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, the Senators and Representatives touted the project as critical to the short- and long-term economic prosperity of ports along the river.

Signatories to the letter include: Senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, and Representatives Chaka Fattah, Robert A. Brady, Jim Gerlach, Allyson Schwartz, Joe Sestak and Patrick J. Murphy.

"This project will make maritime transportation more efficient and reduce shipping costs, thus creating business and employment opportunities at all of the ports along the Delaware River," the united Delegation wrote. "This project is both economically and environmentally sound, despite criticism that erroneously suggests otherwise."

The most recent economic study, which was commissioned by the Corps and accepted by the Government Accountability Office, found that every dollar spent would yield a net benefit of $1.15. In addition, the Corps completed an Environmental Assessment in April of 2009 which concluded that the project will have a minimal environmental impact.

Full text of the letter follows. A pdf is available here.

The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
Washington, DC 20310 0108

Dear Secretary Darcy:

We write to offer our strong support for your recent decision to proceed with the Delaware River Deepening Project while still working with the State of Delaware in a cooperative fashion. Your resolve to uphold your predecessor's determination to move forward with the project is critically important to the short- and long-term economic prosperity of ports along the Delaware River, including those in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Authorized by Congress in 1992, this project will make maritime transportation more efficient and reduce shipping costs, thus creating business and employment opportunities at all of the ports along the Delaware River. This project is both economically and environmentally sound, despite criticism that erroneously suggests otherwise. The most recent economic study, which was commissioned by the Corps and accepted by the Government Accountability Office, found that every dollar spent would yield a net benefit of $1.15. In addition, the Corps completed an Environmental Assessment in April of 2009 which concluded that the project will have a minimal environmental impact.

In anticipation of continued progress, we want not only to offer our support, but also ensure that the interests of our constituents are not compromised by more stall tactics from opponents of the project. We are aware of language contained in the Conference Report for the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, concerning the Delaware River Deepening Project. It is our understanding, based on assurances from the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, that the inclusion of this language would not negatively impact advancement of the project. In addition, because it is in the Conference Report, we note that it is not binding on the Corps. Finally, the Conference Report does not limit the use of previously appropriated or non-Federal funds, which remain available to award the first contract.

This project has the support of business and labor groups in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Like us, these communities recognize the importance of this project, especially as our country faces such challenging economic times. We look forward to working with you and other Corps officials to bring this project to fruition and provide the necessary funding to complete it over the next several years.

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this matter.

Sincerely,

Senator Arlen Specter
Senator Bob Casey
Representative Chaka Fattah
Representative Robert A. Brady
Representative Jim Gerlach
Representative Allyson Schwartz
Representative Joe Sestak
Representative Patrick J. Murphy


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