Delaware officials deny dredging permit

July 24, 2009 11:09:01 AM PDT
Delaware environmental officials have denied a permit to the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging the Delaware River shipping channel. Environmental secretary Colin O'Mara said Friday that his permit denial is consistent with the recommendation of a hearing officer who presided over one of the largest environmental case records in state history.

The Corps wants to deepen the channel by five feet from Philadelphia to the mouth of the Delaware Bay. Supporters say the dredging would accommodate big ships and keep local ports competitive, but opponents argue it will mostly benefit a few oil refineries while stirring up toxic sediments.

O'Mara said the project has changed substantially from what was outlined in 2001, and that a lot of the information is outdated.

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