Monthly Archives: July 2009

Philly Inquirer: Pro-dredging editorial

(Posting this does’t mean we agree with it (!))

Editorial: Dredging the Delaware

Delaware state officials are fighting an ill-timed rearguard action against deepening the shipping channel in the Delaware River up to Philadelphia.

Their denial on Friday of a long-standing request for permits by the Army Corps of Engineers comes just as the $379 million project is about to get underway.

After sitting on the Army Corps request for permits since 2001, Delaware environmental officials rejected them on grounds that the application was out of date.

That sounds like a Catch-22 – penalizing the dredging project because the bureaucrats waited so long to do their job. It’s also puzzling on the merits, since Army Corps officials regarded the project as ready to go.

Indeed, the Army Corps has advertised the first bids for the project, which could be awarded in early October.

On the Philadelphia docks, longshoreman jobs are in desperately short supply amid an economic downturn that has all freight traffic suffering.

The contentious bureaucratic battles between Pennsylvania and New Jersey officials are long over, with a 2007 agreement in place to properly dispose of the dredging spoils and cover the local share of the heavily federally funded work.

Given the nation’s wider focus on rebuilding key infrastructure assets and spurring the economy with shovel-ready projects, the Delaware River dredging seems even more timely.

As it has been for years, dredging the river is an essential component to promoting the future vitality of the region’s ports – particularly in light of competition with New York ports, which are being regularly upgraded.

One industry study estimated that 175,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created from port and infrastructure improvements related to the dredging, meaning that millions of dollars in economic activity will result.

In a sign of renewed interest in port development, the South Jersey Port Corp. on Tuesday teed up the sale of $56 million in bonds to create the first new port on the Delaware in several decades. The deep-water port in Paulsboro will be carved out of a 190-acre former oil and chemical storage site.

The good news on the dredging is that Gov. Rendell, a strong proponent of the project, sees the permit denials by Delaware environmental officials as a temporary setback.

Rendell wisely reached out to Gov. Jack Markell over the weekend, securing the Delaware governor’s agreement to conduct a speedy review of a new report on the project’s effects on the river.

It’s long past time to take the plunge to make the Delaware River a better link to the global economy.

Wind turbine to go up at University of Delaware Lewes campus

From the UDaily official newsletter:

9:31 a.m., July 27, 2009—-The University of Delaware and Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica have signed an agreement that could facilitate the installation of a utility-scale 2.0MW Gamesa wind turbine at UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes next year. The agreement was reached in a memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of UD and Ga mesa, with a final accord anticipated in September.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who attended the signing event, said, “This agreement is a significant step forward in Delaware’s efforts to seize the economic development opportunities presented by our nation’s commitment to energy independence and the concern over climate change. Companies like Gamesa value excellent higher education institutions, like the University of Delaware, as well as states that are committed to renewable energy. We have both in Delaware. I am hopeful this partnership will further Delaware’s reputation as a leader in environmental issues like alternative energy and climate prosperity, while serving to demonstrate the connection between the health of our economy and the health of our environment.”

In addition to providing carbon-free electricity generation, the project will enhance University research in areas such as turbine corrosion, avian impacts, and policy issues related to renewable energy. A coastal turbine also enables many types of research needed to develop ocean turbines.

The project is inspired by the work of UD College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) professors Jeremy Firestone and Willett Kempton, who have studied the amount of power supplied by Delaware’s offshore winds as well as public reaction to and policies for wind-energy use.

“We are very pleased to be entering into this agreement with Gamesa, one of the world’s pre-eminent wind turbine manufacturers,” said CEOE Dean Nancy Targett. “We hope that this agreement will advance renewable energy research and development and ultimately benefit the environment and the economy.”

“The University of Delaware leads in promoting a realistic, socially responsible approach to tapping offshore resources,” said Gamesa CEO and Chairman Guillermo Ulacia. “For Gamesa this is a privileged partnership to initiate the next steps in the company’s ‘energy culture’ ethos and to position Gamesa when offshore technology becomes mainstream.”

UD recently completed a project feasibility assessment, which Targett and Kempton will summarize in a public forum in Lewes on July 28. They will also discuss the project’s next steps and implications for the campus and community.

To learn more about CEOE or UD’s offshore wind research, visit the Web sites. For more on Gamesa, visit the company’s Web site.

Alert 665: Delaware denies permit for Delaware River “Main Channel Deepening”

(Code Orange bad air pollution alert for Saturday, July 25, 2009)
This is a major event in one of the longest-running environmental controversies in the region.  A recommendation from a Delaware DNREC hearing officer to deny a Delaware permit to the U.S Army Corps of Engineers had been sitting since 2003.  This is good news for many people who have worked for many years to protect the Delaware River.  Green Delaware has always opposed the dredging project. Continue reading

Del. Governor Jack Markell has vetoed bottle bill repeal: HB-201

Our thanks to all who contacted Markell asking him to do this.  And thanks to Gov. Markell for doing it.

The next key step towards better management of garbage in Delaware is to break the evil influence of the Delaware Solid Waste Authority, which continues to obstruct, deceive and pollute.  The Governor appoints the DSWA board members and designates the Chair.  He inherited a bad Board and needs to make changes.

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

Alert 664: July 14, 2008: — Delmarva Power “IRP” Public Comment Session

In Alert 656:  Do you want a say over Delaware’s energy future? we reported on attempts to curtain public input into Delmarva Power’s planning.  We invited people speak out if they wanted public meetings and some people did.  One of the three scheduled meetings (in Dover) was kept on the agenda and the other two, in Sussex and New Castle Counties, were cancelled.  (I was especially annoyed that Blue Water Wind, which benefited so much from public support for its offshore wind project, supported cancelling the “public comment sessions.”  Remember that, folks.) Continue reading

“This July 4th, Rebel and Agitate for Change”

Agitators created America, and it’s their feisty spirit and outright rebelliousness that we celebrate on our national holiday.

Are you an agitator? You know, one of those people who won’t leave well enough alone, who’s always questioning authority and trying to stir things up. Continue reading