Earlier this week, Congressman Andrews announced his continued opposition to the Delaware River deepening project which is a threat to South Jersey's environment and a waste of taxpayers' money. The $300 million project, which would dredge the Delaware River to 45 feet, would result in 16 million cubic yards of polluted dredged spoils being taken from the bottom the river. Not only has the project been deemed a losing investment by the GAO -- the government's impartial watchdog -- but most of the potentially toxic dredge spoils will be dumped in South Jersey if this project isn't stopped.
While Governor Tom Corbett announced last week that Pennsylvania will spend $15 million of its own state budget on the dredge, Congressman Andrews stressed that the $300 million plan cannot be completed without federal funding. As a result, the Congressman vowed to redouble his efforts to ensure that no more federal dollars will be wasted on the project. Last year, Rep. Andrews was successful in convincing the Army Corps of Engineers to not include any funding for the Delaware River deepening in their budget and the Congressman pointed out that neither Presidents George W. Bush nor Barack Obama allocated a single dime to deepen the channel. In fact, the project has only received federal dollars over the past several years through earmarks -- which have been eliminated this Congress -- and therefore it is extremely unlikely that the project will see future federal funds.
Last week, Rep. Andrews wrote to the head of the Army Corps of Engineers, Jo-Ellen Darcy, requesting that no funding be wasted on the Delaware River deepening project -- echoing the Congressman's successful requests from years prior, illustrating the economic and environmental harms of the dredge.
"The way to create jobs at the port is to build warehouses, roads and rails -- not to literally throw money into a hole in the river," said Rep. Andrews at a press conference earlier this week where he was joined by New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin who also denounced the deepening project. "Without federal tax dollars this project will not happen. We will continue to stop those federal dollars and this project will not happen."
Andrews stated that we should be investing in projects like the Paulsboro Marine Terminal, a deep water port on track for completion in 2012, which has already created nearly 900 construction jobs and expects to generate 2,000 permanent positions once completed, according to the Department of Agriculture. Rep. Andrews will continue to oppose wasteful spending on the environmentally hazardous dredging project and will prevent South Jersey from becoming a dumping site for dredge spoils.