Environmental Movement

Evolution and expansion of opposition to the dam: the emerging environmental movement

As it grew beyond displaced homeowners and landowners, the opposition to the project had a complex group of actors. While the Governor of Pennsylvania was steadfast in his support of the dam for its jobs and flood control value, governors of New Jersey and New York opposed the project. From concern over the need to build and maintain more roads for the nine million annual visitors projected to come to the new recreation area to concerns by farmers that there would be more rigorous standards regulating farm runoff (and more costs to them to control these), governors, congressmen, and other elected officials lined up to oppose the dam.[1] Elected officials were also reacting to the growing national environmental movement.

DVCA leaders had already brought in environmental groups as partners. The DVCA was also a force behind the creation of the Save the Delaware Coalition.[2] In 1970, in only five months, the Save the Delaware Coalition had enlisted 28 member organizations; by 1975 they had sixty members. Organizations included national groups such as the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, and the National Wildlife Federation. The coalition also pulled together eclectic partners such as the Essex County Young Republicans Club and the Daughters of the American Revolution.[3]

[1] Irene Taviss Thomson, “The Tocks Island Dam Controversy” Chapter 2 in Laurence H. Tribe, Corinne Saposs Schelling, and John Voss, eds., When Values Conflict, Pensacola, FL: Ballinger Publishing Company, 1976, p. 40.

[2] Albert, p. 119

[3] Albert, p. 119.