Federal Judge Lifts Injunction On Port of Philadelphia Deepening Project


FederalJudge Lifts Injunction

On Port ofPhiladelphia Deepening Project

Ruling clearskey roadblock


            PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2010-- TheDelaware River deepening project got a major boost on Wednesday, November 17when a federal judge ruled against those trying to stop the project, rejectingtheir request for a permanent injunction and lifting the temporary injunctionimposed earlier this year that threatened additional work. 


The decision, handed down byJudge Sue L. Robinson of the United States District Court for the District ofDelaware, will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers move forward asappropriate.


“This is great news for the manyfamilies that rely on the Delaware River for their livelihood,” saidPhiladelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) Chairman John H. Estey, in responseto the ruling. 


The PRPA, which is the localsponsor of the project, had joined the suit in support of the deepening. 


“Although there is much more todo to ensure the project’s completion, initial results are promising andtoday’s decision will help move the project forward,” said Chairman Estey.


The $277 million project willdeepen the Delaware River Main Shipping Channel from 40 feet to 45 feet fromPhiladelphia through the Delaware Bay, a distance of 102 miles.  The project began in March, when an 11-milestretch in Delaware waters was deepened. That work ended in September. Plans are underway for the next portion or “reach,” as they are called,to be deepened.


            Theaction to prevent further deepening had initially been filed by the DelawareDepartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) against theU.S.  Army Corps of Engineers.  The State of New Jersey, the DelawareRiverkeeper Network, the Delaware Riverkeeper, the Delaware Nature Society, theNational Wildlife Federation, the New Jersey Environmental Federation and CleanWater Action had filed motions in support of DNREC.


The ports of the Delaware Riversupport an estimated 75,000 jobs, generate billions in revenue and wages andcontribute more than $150 million annually in state and local taxes. 


“This is a great day not onlyfor the men and women who work at the Port of Philadelphia, but for theregional economy, too,” said James T. McDermott Jr., Executive Director of thePRPA.  “We have proven time and timeagain, this project is vital to the continuing growth of the local maritimeindustry.  The more cargo we can bringhere, the more jobs we can create.”


Advances in technology andimprovements in infrastructure internationally threaten this vital local industry.  As of 2014, the Panama and Suez Canals willboth have the capacity to handle vessels with drafts exceeding 45 feet and boththe Port of New York and the Port of Baltimore are currently or have recentlydeepened.  To remain competitive,Delaware River ports must be able to accept the larger vessels.


“If we are going to ensure thefuture economic viability of our ports in the region, we need to deepen theDelaware channel to 45 feet,” said Chairman Estey.  “If we do not deepen, the ports along theDelaware are destined to become ‘niche’ ports, with limited cargo-handlingability, costing thousands of good jobs. If we deepen the channel, we’ll create thousands of jobs.”


Future news releases will updatethe international maritime industry on the progress of the Delaware RiverChannel-Deepening Project.  ThePhiladelphia Regional Port Authority, the local match for this federaldeepening project, is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvaniacharged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publiclyowned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well asstrategic planning in the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improveits facilities, and to market those facilities to prospective port users.  Port cargoes and the activities they generateare responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphiaarea and throughout Pennsylvania, as well as numerous other economic benefits.