NJ sues Army Engineers to block Delaware dredging

NEW YORK Mon Nov 2, 2009 3:54pm EST

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NEW YORK Nov 2 (Reuters) - New Jersey said on Monday it sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to block it from deepening the Delaware River for ships, which the state said risks exposing residents to pollution from mud.

In a lawsuit echoing one filed last week by Delaware, New Jersey says the Army Corps of Engineers must first sample and analyze the river sediment and get a permit from the state.

The shipping channel runs just over 100 miles, from Cape May, at the southern tip of New Jersey, to Philadelphia, which is the nation's 13th busiest port, according to the American Association of Port Authorities, an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group.

"The Army Corps has decided to go ahead with its completely irresponsible plan to circumvent New Jersey's strong environmental protection processes and plow blindly ahead with dredging," Governor Jon Corzine said in a statement. "I cannot allow the people of South Jersey to have these dredge spoils dumped on them," he added.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers declined to comment as a matter of policy.

New Jersey's lawsuit was filed electronically in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, a spokesman for the state's attorney general said. (Reporting by Joan Gralla; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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