Friend of the Court brief filed in support of the Upper Delaware Council’s lawsuit to prevent the expansion of a quarry in Lakawaxen Township
Philadelphia, PA – Today, the nation’s leading voice for our national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), filed a Friend of the Court brief in support of the Upper Delaware Council’s lawsuit to prevent the expansion of a quarry in Lakawaxen Township, PA. The proposed expansion of this quarry would violate the Upper Delaware River Management Plan (RMP) and would harm the Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River.
“The Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational river is a national treasure that must be protected for our children and grandchildren to enjoy,” said Cinda Waldbuesser, NPCA’s Pennsylvania senior program manager. “Since 1978, the River Management Plan has successfully ensured that the Upper Delaware remains a pristine river for park visitors to enjoy. Local governments must continue to abide by the plan to protect the Delaware’s clean water.”
One of the cleanest rivers in the country, the Delaware River is America’s largest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi and the last major free-flowing river on the East coast. The river provides drinking water to more than 15 million people, exceptional recreational opportunities for visitors, and habitat for a diverse wildlife population. In 1978, recognizing the importance of the river, Congress designated 73.4 miles of the Upper Delaware River as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act states that the river must be protected in its free-flowing condition and that it must be managed for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
In July, the Holbert Brothers Bluestone Quarry, located in Lackawaxen Township within the river corridor, applied for and was granted Conditional Use Approval to expand their existing quarry by 40 acres. However, this approval is in violation of the township’s zoning regulations and of the River Management Plan. In order to protect the river corridor, the River Management Plan limits quarrying use to two acres at any one time.
“This blatant disregard for local land use ordinances within the Upper Delaware Scenic River corridor sets a dangerous precedent and could have long lasting impacts on one of the cleanest rivers in the county,” said Waldbuesser.
Also of concern, Lakawaxen township denied the Upper Delaware Council, the entity responsible for representing local, state, and federal government interests for the river, the ability to be present and participate at the hearing when the expansion was approved. Prior policy practices have allowed the Upper Delaware Council to participate in past hearings on this very same issue.
“The board’s unlawful decision to deny the Upper Delaware Council’s participation in the conditional use hearing is an abuse of discretion,” said Susan Kraham, NPCA’s attorney and senior staff attorney for Columbia University School of Law Environmental Law Clinic. “This decision will hinder Upper Delaware Council’s ability to effectively advocate on behalf of the Upper Delaware, which will ultimately jeopardize the long-term health of the national park and river.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.