NJ Senators Call for Delinquent Dues

Thursday, December 16, 2004
U.S. Senators Jon S. Corzine (D) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D) of New Jersey, in the aftermath of what might turn out to be one of the worst oil spills ever on the Delaware River, called on President Bush to pay the federal government’s overdue tab to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) which is charged with managing the Delaware River for four states and the federal government.

The federal government is nearly $6 million delinquent in dues owed to the commission as part of its obligation under an agreement reached between the government and the states which border the river. In a letter sent to Bush today, the Senators said that the DRBC’s ability to respond to recent oil spill has been hampered by a lack of sufficient resources.

“The Delaware River Basin Commission is vital to the healthy management of the Delaware River which provides drinking water and is an important source of commerce for the region,” said Corzine. “The federal government entered an agreement to help fund the commission and my message to President Bush is the government’s tab is overdue and simply must be paid. The recent oil spill shows how important it is that we have the resources in place to protect and promote the Delaware River as a vital resource for the region and the federal government needs to pony up its share.”

“The DRBC has been invaluable in natural resource conservation and monitoring, education and many other services for all of the Delaware River Basin states. The Bush administration has failed to provide the funding for this commission, as required by law. Quite simply, it has refused to pay its bill,” said Senator Lautenberg.”

The DRBC was established in 1961 by a compact signed by New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York and the federal government, an agreement which is supposed to last 100 years. The Commission’s responsibilities include fisheries protection, flood loss reduction, and water quality monitoring and analysis. Broadly, the commission provides a mechanism for managing the Delaware River so that it remains a viable water resource for the states that live along it. In the aftermath of a spill that dumped massive amounts of crude oil into the river, the Commission has played a crucial role in containing the spill’s impact, but its efforts have been hampered by a lack of sufficient resources. The Senators letter to President Bush is attached.

December 14, 2004

The Honorable George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As the Delaware River struggles to recover from one of the worst oil spills in its history, we urge you to support full Federal funding of the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) in the Fiscal Year 2006 budget.

As you know, the DRBC was established in 1961 in a compact between the Federal government and the States of New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. The Commission’s responsibilities include fisheries protection, flood loss reduction, and water quality monitoring and analysis. Perhaps most importantly, the Commission provides a mechanism for managing the Delaware River so that it remains a viable water resource for the States that live along it. In the aftermath of a spill that dumped massive amounts of crude oil into the river, the Commission has played a crucial role in containing the spill’s impact.

Unfortunately, the Commission’s ability to respond to this crisis has been hampered by a lack of sufficient resources. This is largely because the Federal government has fallen behind on its statutorily-mandated contribution to the Commission’s annual operating budget, resulting in a shortfall of nearly $6 million.

In our view, it is important that we address this shortfall and ensure that the Federal government fully meets its obligation for the upcoming fiscal year. We therefore urge you to include this funding in your Fiscal Year 2006 budget request.

Thank you for your consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

JON S. CORZINE

FRANK R. LAUTENBERG

United States Senator United States Senator

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