Earlier this week, Congressman Andrews announced that for the third year in a row the Obama Administration had decided not to invest a single dollar towards the Army Corps of Engineers' efforts to deepen the Delaware. In both his State of the Union Address and his $3.7 trillion budget submitted to Congress Monday, the President has signaled to America that only the most economically sound projects will be funded for Fiscal Year 2012. Congressman Andrews stated that the dredging project's significant shortcomings, both economic and environmental, continue to keep it off the President's list of approved projects year after year.
"Funding efforts that will lose 51 cents on every dollar spent is not how America will rein in the deficit and achieve economic recovery," Congressman Andrews said, referring to the GAO's cost benefit analysis of the deepening project. "I thank President Obama for leaving the dredging project out of his budget for FY2012. The costs of the Delaware Deepening project extend far beyond dollars and cents -- time and time again the Army Corps has failed to meet the required environmental regulations to move forward."
Attached is the text of Congressman Andrews's December 9, 2010 letter to OMB Director Jack Lew requesting that the Army Corps' dredging project remain unfunded for FY2012.
December 9, 2010
Director Jacob J. Lew
Office of Management and Budget
Washington, DC 20503
Dear OMB Director Lew,
I am writing to request that President Obama not ask for funding for the Army Corps of Engineers' Delaware River Main Channel Deepening project in his Fiscal Year 2012 budget.
First, I would like to thank President Obama for not including funding for this project in his Fiscal Year 2011 budget. As we enter the Fiscal Year 2012 cycle, I am sending this letter to re-iterate my concerns with this fundamentally flawed project.
In June of 2002 the General Accounting Office (report # GAO-02-604) found that the Army Corps grossly misrepresented the costs and benefits of the project. The GAO determined that the economic analysis provided for the project contained a number of "material errors," "miscalculations, invalid assumptions, and the use of significantly outdated information." Based on the GAO's findings, the benefit to cost ratio of the project is closer to 0.49 to 1 as opposed to the 1.4 to 1 originally asserted by the Army Corps.
Additionally, the original environmental studies for this project are outdated and require comprehensive reanalysis and updating to reflect the changes that have occurred over the past decades. Original studies were conducted in the late 1980's with a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement completed in 1997.
I continue to remain concerned about the possibility that approval of the project is based on underrepresented economic and environmental costs of the project. As you know, tremendous controversy surrounds the assessment of Army Corps projects nationwide and many questions remain about the Delaware River project. Moreover, this project has only been funding through earmarks for the last six years. The primary sponsors of these earmarks are no longer serving in Congress, and given the shift in earmarking policy, it is vital that the President's 2012 budget not include any funding for this wasteful project, as has been done in the last six budget proposals.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Robert E. Andrews
Member of Congress