A Greener Shade of Green

It was pointed out in a recent issue of a leading maritime periodical that “green is good”, and if port officials wanted to build new facilities, or affect existing terminals in any way, they’d need to take the initiative where the environment is concerned.

That same periodical, in an earlier issue, strongly criticized petty actions that have delayed efforts to develop a major new container terminal in Philadelphia which would, theoretically, increase annual throughput volumes from today’s 544,000 TEUs to a proposed 3.5 million containers. The real issue, which was carefully brushed over, is the port’s push to dredge the 108-mile Delaware River. Everything else is smoke.

The conflicting stances were fairly obvious, and we wondered if the inclusion of a 24-page advertisement by “Philadelphia Logistics” in this periodical had influenced the editors. Maybe not.

Maybe the editors had just forgotten that on March 6th of this year, the National Wildlife Federation and the Bristol-based Delaware Riverkeeper Network released three reports challenging the 15-year-old dredging proposal. The first report was an overview, the second covered economic issues, and the third addressed environmental issues. In these reports the groups argue that the Army Corps of Engineers:
• failed to demonstrate how deepening the channel would improve the region economically;
• failed to demonstrate how deepening the channel would make Philadelphia more competitive with other major shipping ports;
• and submitted no viable plan to document, discuss, or represent the environmental ramifications of soil disposal or the cost implications.

The Riverkeeper Network had stressed the environmental hazards that the project would create. The Delaware River provides;
• access to major East Coast ports;
• drinking water to more than 15 million people;
• support for recreation and ecotourism;
• and food, water and habitat to various fish, wildlife and plants.

A spokesperson for the Riverkeeper Network had the good sense to say, “Our ports may want help to grow and to continue their prosperous move forward, but they cannot expect to do that on the backs of the community. We need to be investing our limited resources in port projects that make sense and will truly make a difference, not in projects that fail to enhance the port while at the same time harm the rest of our river communities … Anytime someone has taken a truly objective look or review of this project, in every instance they come out against it. That’s why I can tell you that those who are supporting this project either don’t know what they’re talking about or they are lying.”

Here’s some friendly advice. Read the Riverkeeper Network’s 3-part, 48-page report entitled “Delaware River Deepening — Dumped Again”… so that you’ll know what you’re talking about.