2003 Scorecard Vote
Despite numerous flaws in project designs and economic justifications, mounting environmental problems, and growing taxpayer concern over costs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to build wasteful and environmentally damaging dams and levees, dredge waterways and carry out "pork barrel" water resources projects.
Environmentalists have been particularly critical of a Corps project to deepen a 106-mile stretch of the Delaware River from 40 to 45 feet. Corps advocates claim the project would reduce shipping costs for six crude-oil refineries along the river. However, the project is of such dubious value that refineries would likely not pay for the dredging just to link their docks with the Corps' deeper channel. Furthermore, the Corps plans to use three south New Jersey land sites to dispose of the 88 million cubic yards of dredge spoils from the project. These plans have triggered major concerns about local environmental impacts, prompting New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection to rescind a previously issued permit for the project.
A May 2002 report by the General Accounting Office found that the Corps relied on outdated information to inflate the benefits of the project, which is expected to cost at least $286 million. In December 2002, the Corps issued a "re-analysis" that again claimed the dredging project was economically justified, but outside experts once more found serious flaws with the Corps' analysis.
During House debate of H.R. 2754, the 2004 energy and water development appropriations bill, Representative Robert Andrews (D-NJ) proposed an amendment to reduce funding for the Delaware River deepening project by $7.7 million. On July 18, 2003, the House rejected the amendment by a 194-213 vote (House roll call vote 391). Yes is the pro-environment vote. The final appropriations bill included $9 million in funding for the project; however, it also included language directing the Corps to reconsider "reprogramming" the money for other purposes. President Bush signed the appropriations bill into law on December 1, 2003.