Army Engineers Ditch Plan to Deepen SF Bay Shipping Channels for Oil Tankers

Nov 28, 2020


Cancellation is a Win for the Bay’s Health, for local Drinking Water, and will Save Taxpayers Millions of Dollars


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which operates as part of the Department of Defense, announced via public notice that it’s withdrawing plans to dredge the shipping channel connecting San Francisco Bay to Stockton deeper. The scheme was a favor to the Bay Area’s oil refineries to help them operate larger oil tankers on the Bay. The ill-advised plan would have increased the risk of disastrous oil spills, posed a threat to local drinking water and farms, and cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The proposal might also have set the stage for the Port of Stockton to expand toxic coal pollution in the Bay.    


San Francisco Baykeeper joined forces with a coalition of Bay Area environmental and community organizations to challenge the proposal.  Baykeeper actively opposed the Army Corps' dredging plan and raised significant legal and technical concerns over the project's Environmental Impact Statement during the public rulemaking process, which culminated with the project's termination. 


In response, Baykeeper Executive Director Sejal Choksi-Chugh issued the following statement: 


"Today’s cancellation of the dredging boondoggle is a big win because it was nothing more than a hand-out to the fossil fuel industry that posed a significant risk to the health of our Bay and Bay Area communities. 


"Deeper dredging could have contaminated the tap water flowing into hundreds of thousands of Bay-Delta homes and the irrigation water reaching the region’s crops with high levels of salt and possible pollutants — threatening both public health and agricultural productivity. 


"Deeper channels would also have meant larger oil tankers on the Bay. The decision to terminate the Bay-to-Stockton dredging scheme reduces the risk of a disastrous oil spill. It's also a helpful step to transition the Bay Area’s dirty fuel industry to cleaner energy alternatives. And that's good news for the Bay, the people of the Bay Area, and for the future of our fragile climate."

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