Earlier this month, DNREC Secretary John Hughes ruled that a pier proposed for the Delaware River, and intended for offloading Liquid Natural Gas, is prohibited by the Delaware Coastal Zone Act (DNREC News: DNREC Denies BP's Crown Landing Proposed LNG Pier).
The proposed pier, though it would start from the shore of New Jersey, would extend out into Delaware (PDF site map). The boundary between New Jersey and Delaware, at least at the northern end of Delaware, was established by the US Supreme Court in 1934 as being the mean low water line on the New Jersey side of the river, as it existed in 1934.
The Delaware Coastal Zone Act was passed and signed in 1971 to stop major industrial development in the coastal zone of Delaware (PDF map), which includes Delaware's portion of the River and Bay.
So now some politicians in southern New Jersey are pretty mad. South Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli, for example, wants to stop Jersey from using our banks and credit card companies. He's trying to get our attention and convince us to be "more flexible."
"For Delaware to think they have to protect New Jersey from itself . . . is unnecessary and condescending," Burzichelli said Friday. "Our track record on environmental laws is a national model."Let's set the huge irony of the second part of that statement aside for just a moment. I think what he's missing is that the Delaware Coastal Zone Act is set up to protect Delaware's Coastal Zone. From, in this case, New Jersey.
There is also talk of trying to re-draw the state boundaries. That should be an easy task; the 1934 Court Decision ended something like a quarter century of dispute last time we opened that can of worms.
More troubling, perhaps, is the talk of Congress acting to over-ride state land use controls such as the Coastal Zone Act in the name of National Security. That's the arena we should be watching.