View Full Version : Border dispute with Delaware

11-29-2005, 08:26 PM
Well New Jersey is taking Delaware to court. Usually it's NY that NJ has to fight against, but the border with Delaware is just as contentious sometimes. Many people don't know - but the border wih Delaware is New Jersey's low water mark. The border goes from the middle of the Delaware Bay then swings eastward to New Jersey's low water mark when it enters the river and then goes back to the middle of the river once the border hits Pennsylvania. There is a little known fact that you can actually walk to Delaware from NJ without getting wet. :) A little hook has formed from landfill that is just west of Hancock's Bridge (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=39.480461,-75.552807&spn=0.064949,0.123287&t=h&hl=en) in Salem County and another landfill area just south of Pennsville (http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=39.621689,-75.574265&spn=0.064817,0.123287&t=h&hl=en).

The lawsuit comes about because NJ in conjunction with BP wants to build a pier into the Delaware so ships can come in. Delaware basically has said that it can't be built because it goes across their sovereign border. Supposedly there is an aggreement from 1905 however which says that both states can freely build infastructure from their land into the river. The border was not iestablished until 1935 through another lawsuit, but i'm unfamiliar with what the arguments were in that lawsuit - all I know is that that Supreme Court ruling ruled that the border was up to NJ's low watermark.

Top Court to hear N.J. border fight (http://www.nj.com/statehouse/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-0/11332434238390.xml&coll=1)
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a border dispute between New Jersey and Delaware over which state has the final say on a controversial proposal to build a liquefied natural gas pier along the Delaware River in Gloucester County.

New Jersey is in negotiations with petroleum giant British Petroleum to build a $1 billion liquefied natural gas receiving station on the river in Logan Township.

Delaware tried to nix the plan in March by denying a permit to a BP subsidiary that wants to build the pier. It contends the pier will extend across its boundary -- which, based on a 1935 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, goes to the low-tide water mark on the New Jersey coast.

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey filed a lawsuit against Delaware in July, asking the Supreme Court to affirm New Jersey's exclusive jurisdiction over development on its side of the Delaware River.

"We are very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take this case, as we requested, in order to resolve this important issue," Harvey said in a statement.

In court papers, Harvey based his argument on a 1905 pact approved by Congress that gives the two states the ability to build "conveyances" on their own riverbanks. He also asked the Supreme Court to either supplement its 1935 decree or allow New Jersey to file a new complaint, which was attached to the request.

The Supreme Court, without comment, agreed to hear the new complaint and gave Delaware 30 days to respond.

Delaware Attorney General M. Jane Brady lauded the Supreme Court's decision not to revisit its 1935 ruling.

"This is a substantial victory for Delaware," Brady said in a statement. "I'm extremely pleased with the ruling. Delaware is prepared to vigorously defend the authority of our state to govern the activities within our borders."

If approved, BP would construct a pier that would extend 2,000 feet into the water to allow huge ships to dock while liquefied natural gas is piped to the terminal. Critics say liquefied natural gas projects can pose a threat to the region because the gas is unstable.