GAO: Refinery closings hurt case for Delaware River dredging

Just when it looked like the Army Corps of Engineers was going to go ahead and dredge the Delaware River so big ships can keep running to Philadelphia, despite opposition by rival port states NJ and DE, here comes the Government Accountability Office to question whether there's enough cargo to justify all that digging. GAO report here.

Inquirer story here. From the GAO intro:

"The Department of Energy has lowered its long-term forecasts for growth in East Coast refinery capacity and U.S. imports of crude oil. Also, in the fall of 2009, Delaware River refinery firms closed two major facilities [Sunoco at Eagle Point, Valero at Delaware City]. Further, steel imports have declined... However, the Corps' 2009 and 2009 updates for the [Delaware River dredging] projects did not analyze the potential effect of these changes...

"Because of these and other omissions, decision makers do not have sufficient updated information to judge... the project's net benefits." The Army Corps of Engineers needs another study, and "the Department of Defense generally agreed with these recommendations."