Knee-deep in Developments

We came across a press release last week, and the “SOURCE” of that item, to the surprise of no one, was the Maritime Stakeholders Group; PMTA. This was the presumptuous headline:

“Delaware River Dredging Confirmation Brings Major Port Development a Step Closer”

The entire article made no sense at all … no common sense, that is. What does make sense is the comment we’ve already cited in the 48-page study issued by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

“Anytime someone has taken a truly objective look or review of this project,” the author stated, “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.”

We wholeheartedly agreed with that statement back in March and we gave our reasons for doing so in Articles 22, 23, 24 and 25, in Volume IX of this website’s “Trends & Developments” segment. In those articles we summarized what “consultants” should have revealed to their clients, but the press release is a strong indication that the Maritime Stakeholders Group is being kept in the dark.

The gathering, although sponsored by the above-named group, was a political event rather than an instructional one. In fact, an officer of the sponsoring group went out of his way to refer to elected officials as being “true friends of the port bringing us news that is a very big deal for our region.”

The “news” was Senator Arlen Spector’s “confirmation” of the government’s commitment to fund the Delaware River dredging project.” The price being “confirmed” was still being quoted in the press release as “$ 300 million”, but as most people know, that figure isn’t anywhere near what the true cost of such a project would be. We’re not accusing anyone of telling deliberate falsehoods …we prefer to think that they “don’t know what they’re talking about”… but whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for that kind of ignorance. Here’s what the job-seekers should have been told:

• Five feet of sludge dredged from a channel more than 100 miles in length, with a reasonable width of 1300 feet, would require a disposal area of about 85,000 acres. This volume of sludge and slime would cover an area equal in size to the 19,000 acre Island of Manhattan to a depth of approximately four-and-a-half feet.
• The cost to transport and spread this volume of spoil over widely scattered Pennsylvania communities would exceed the cost of dredging operations.
• In a project already underway, the Port Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers will be dredging New York’s much shorter channels, night and day, seven days a week, through the next decade … and are committed to a $ 2.25 billion cost.
• Ship owners would never permit “megaships” to stray 100 miles from the sea lanes.

To Mayor Rendell’s credit, he was not in attendance at this gathering. Do you get the feeling that he’s had a chance to delve into these problems and has decided to distance himself from the mess?