Governor Carney, Legislators Announce Major Investments in Clean Water

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride joined advocates and members of the General Assembly on Tuesday to announce significant new investments in clean water across Delaware.

The Clean Water for Delaware Act — sponsored by Representative Longhurst and Senator McBride — will create a Delaware Clean Water Trust to help rebuild Delaware’s drinking water infrastructure, prevent flooding in vulnerable communities, and keep contamination out of our waterways.

The Trust will be initially funded with $50 million in Governor Carney’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 budget. Governor Carney will release his budget proposal on Thursday, January 30, at the Delaware Public Archives.

“From the Brandywine Creek to the Inland Bays, we have special natural places in our state. Water is Delaware’s most basic and valuable resource, and we should protect that resource for future generations,” said Governor Carney. “We also need to make sure that all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water. Delawareans deserve clean water. It’s as simple as that.”

“This is a monumental piece of legislation for Delaware that impacts a resource we simply cannot live without: water. The time to protect our waterways, support our stormwater systems and ensure clean, healthy drinking water to our residents is now,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, chief sponsor of the Clean Water for Delaware Act. “I’ve traveled up and down the state talking to Delawareans about how we need to protect our natural resources. This is an issue of environmental justice. Clean drinking water, safe waterways, updated infrastructure and adequate wastewater treatment are not luxuries; they are necessities. What we are doing today is taking a huge step forward toward securing our future and ensuring that our children and grandchildren have those necessities of life.”

“No community in Delaware should live in fear of polluted water and failing wastewater systems,” said Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride. “Yet across our great state, hundreds of our residents must be leery of the water they drink and the fish they catch. As we enter our third straight year of surpluses, the time has come to take action. I want to thank Governor John Carney for working with the General Assembly to find the revenue we need to begin addressing this problem today. Our vulnerable communities simply cannot wait any longer.”

“I want to commend Governor John Carney for taking this critical step to secure our public health, our environment, our economy, and our way of life,” said Senator Bryan Townsend. “Today, a large number of Delaware’s waterways have become polluted, whole communities cannot drink their tap water, and the majority of wastewater infrastructure desperately needs to be replaced. This funding is a step in the right direction.”

The Clean Water for Delaware Act will require an annual strategic planning process, and will place a new emphasis on infrastructure projects in low-income, underserved communities. In the first year, $50 million in state funding will leverage significant federal investment in Delaware’s water quality.  

“Ninety percent of Delaware’s waterways are polluted or impaired. Nearly five years ago Delaware Nature Society founded the Clean Water Campaign as a statewide coalition to secure funding to improve Delaware’s water quality. The coalition and our Water Warriors have been with us every step of the way. This new proposal is a giant step toward clean water in Delaware,” said Anne Harper, Executive Director of the Delaware Nature Society. “Clean water is critical to Delaware’s economy, environment, wildlife, food supply and public health.  We look forward to working with Governor Carney, Rep. Longhurst, Senator McBride, Senator Townsend, the General Assembly and our Water Warrior volunteers to secure the proposed $50 million in clean water funding.”

“Economic development starts with infrastructure investment,” said Dave DuPlessis, President of the American Council of Engineering Companies-Delaware. “Clean water and sustainable water infrastructure is often taken for granted and the cost of service is frequently underestimated.  We are grateful that the Governor and leaders of the General Assembly recognize the value of this investment to our quality of life and the economy. Thank you to Governor Carney, Rep. Longhurst and Sen. McBride for creating a program that makes Delaware cleaner and safer while adding much needed infrastructure to our state which will have positive impacts on our economy for years to come.”

“The Delaware Rural Water Association is a nonprofit trade association that works with every water and wastewater facility in the State of Delaware in maintaining compliance,” said Rick Duncan, Executive Director of the Delaware Rural Water Association. “Having this type of resource of funding will play a vital role in our small community water systems that are having difficulty seeking those funds to support infrastructure needs and maintain compliance.”

Dian Taylor, CEO and President of Artesian Water Company said “Artesian supports the Governor’s Clean Water initiative. It has been our commitment for over the last hundred years and we adamantly believe that everyone has the right to clean safe drinking water. We commend the Governor’s efforts to protect our State’s most essential resource.”

 

“PDE is excited about Governor Carney’s proposed Clean Water Trust initiative that will provide new resources to improve and protect Delaware’s precious water resources,” said Kathy Klein, Executive Director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary. “Strategic use of this funding will help to address long standing challenges and implement clean water goals and strategies in the Delaware Estuary Program’s Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan.” 

“As a global leader in the provision of environmental services, SUEZ supports this effort to protect our most precious natural resource, clean water,” said Larry Finnicum, Director of SUEZ Delaware Operations.

“Clean water is essential now and for future generations, and we commend Governor Carney and our state legislators who have committed to make water quality a top priority in 2020,” said Sherri Evans-Stanton, Director of the Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club.  “Our residents, visitors and businesses deserve safe drinking water and the Governor’s pledge to dedicate $50 million in funds will provide momentum to address Delaware’s clean water efforts. Given the degree to which our state economy, from agriculture to tourism, depends on clean water it is imperative to keep moving forward.  Most of all, we want to thank Governor Carney for his leadership to assist communities that often lack funding necessary to clean up their water.”

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Governor Carney and 14 Governors Urge Congress to Act on Harmful PFAS

Letter expresses need to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Governors of Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin issued a letter to the leadership of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees urging them to include provisions for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to protect citizens who would be affected by these substances.

Read the letter here:

Dear Chairman Inhofe, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Smith and Ranking Member Thornberry:

As you instruct your conferees to consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), we, the undersigned governors, would like to highlight several key provisions related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and urge you to include them in the final legislation.

PFAS are used in many nonstick coatings in consumer products, industrial processes, and firefighting foams often used by the military and at airports. These chemicals, which break down extremely slowly or not at all, can accumulate in our environment and in our bodies, and those that have been studied are associated with adverse health effects, such as liver damage, thyroid disease, and kidney and testicular cancers. Provisions in the current House and Senate measures will ensure the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) mitigates the impacts of PFAS contamination, require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to move more quickly to set PFAS health standards and protections, and provide much-needed resources and guidance as the federal government, states, and communities work to address contamination from these persistent substances.

At current and former military bases across the country, firefighting foam containing PFAS has been in use for many years to meet FAA firefighting standards at FAA controlled airports, and by extension at military airports. In many of these locations, PFAS have leached into groundwater, surface water, and nearby private wells used for drinking water. According to the Government Accountability Office, there are at least 401 military sites with known or suspected PFAS contamination.

As governors, we are evaluating responses appropriate for our states, including in some cases developing or setting drinking water standards for PFAS, and deploying state funds to test, investigate, and remediate PFAS contamination caused by government and industrial uses. Nevertheless, federal action is needed to address PFAS, including contamination in and around military sites.

Our Congressional delegations have worked diligently to include important provisions in the House and Senate bills to require the DoD and EPA to investigate, monitor and clean up PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities. It is clear that many members of Congress on both sides of the aisle understand the urgent need to act to address these toxic PFAS chemicals. As governors whose residents are affected by these toxics, we urge development of a package that includes the strongest provisions from both the House and Senate bills, including the following that would:

  • Require EPA to set an enforceable, nationwide drinking water standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act for PFOA and PFOS within two years of enactment, while preserving states’ authority to enact their own, more stringent standards.
  • Require the EPA to list PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) within one year.
  • Require the EPA to revise the list of toxic pollutants under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to include PFAS and publish effluent and pretreatment standards.
  • Phase out the use of PFAS in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) as quickly as possible.
  • Urge the DoD to finalize cooperative agreements with states and partner with governors to test, monitor, remove, and remediate PFAS contamination originating from DoD activities, including at decommissioned military installations and National Guard facilities. Require that if a cooperative agreement is not reached within one year of the request from a state, the Secretary of Defense must report to Congress with an explanation of why an agreement has not been reached. Remediation should satisfy both federal and state/local remediation targets.
  • Grant the National Guard Bureau access to specific environmental remediation program funding in FY 2020.
  • Authorize the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to develop advanced testing methods capable of detecting PFAS, and to conduct nationwide sampling for these chemicals – focusing first on areas near drinking water with known or suspected PFAS contamination.
  • Require the DoD to treat and clean PFAS-contaminated water used for agricultural purposes.
  • Require public disclosure, as part of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) annual reports, when environmental releases of about 200 PFAS chemicals occur – including PFOS and PFOA.

The FY2020 NDAA presents an opportunity to take historic steps forward to address PFAS contamination that is harming our states, and we ask you to include the strongest PFAS-related provisions in the final bill.

Sincerely,

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

State of Michigan

Governor John Carney

State of Delaware

 

Governor Charlie Baker

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

Governor Tim Walz

State of Minnesota

 

Governor Chris Sununu

State of New Hampshire

 

Governor Phil Murphy

State of New Jersey

 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham

State of New Mexico

 

Governor Andrew Cuomo

State of New York

 

Governor Roy Cooper

State of North Carolina

 

Governor Mike DeWine

State of Ohio

 

Governor Tom Wolf

State of Pennsylvania

 

Governor Phil Scott

State of Vermont

Governor Ralph Northam

Commonwealth of Virginia

Governor Jay Inslee

State of Washington

Governor Tony Evers

State of Wisconsin

 

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View and download a copy of the Governors’ letter.


DNREC to hold public information sessions Sept. 9 in Dover and New Castle on state’s new refrigerant incentive program

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold two public information sessions Monday, Sept. 9 detailing a new program that will provide incentives to Delaware businesses to install refrigeration systems less harmful to the environment than systems currently used by many businesses and organizations in the state. The first information session will take place at 11 a.m. at DNREC offices at 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720, while the second session is scheduled for 6 p.m. at DNREC’s State Street Commons offices, 100 W. Water St., Dover, DE 19904.

DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy plans to launch the new “Cool Switch – Low Impact Refrigerant Program” later this month. Some refrigerants, like hydrofluorocarbons, are a potent greenhouse gas that have significant impact on global warming. The public information sessions will discuss how the new DNREC program will offer incentives for new systems or upgrades of existing systems to participating municipalities, businesses, non-profits and industries.

For more information please contact Robert Underwood, DNREC Energy Administrator, Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy, at 302-735-3489 or email robert.underwood@delaware.gov. Additional information, including an agenda for the meetings, can be found on the state Public Meeting Calendar.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

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DNREC announces finalized Coastal Zone Conversion Permit regulations, which become effective Sept. 11

DOVER – Final amendments to the Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone, approved Aug. 26 by the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board (CZICB), have been published in the September Register of Regulations and become effective Sept. 11, 2019, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin announced today.

HB190, signed into law by Governor John Carney on Aug. 2, 2017, authorized the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to issue permits for construction and operation of new heavy industry uses at 14 existing heavy industry use sites within the state’s Coastal Zone. Like standard Coastal Zone permits, conversion permits require an assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the proposed conversion.

To begin the process of developing regulations, DNREC Secretary Garvin convened a Regulatory Advisory Committee (RAC), comprising various stakeholder groups and chaired by retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Randy Holland. The committee provided recommendations on a number of issues, including a Sea Level Rise and Coastal Storms Plan, an Environmental Remediation and Stabilization Plan, and evidence of financial assurance. DNREC then held public workshops to gather input on developing regulations for issuing permits.

The committee’s work and recommendations were presented at open houses, where public comments were received. Comments also were submitted to DNREC during a public comment period. The Secretary’s draft regulations and amendments were also presented to the CZICB for approval, as mandated by the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act.

“From the start of the process, DNREC has been committed to developing the regulations governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act Conversion Permit, consistent with the law, in a transparent manner that facilitated and encouraged public input and involvement,” Secretary Garvin said. “The new regulations incorporate recommendations from the RAC, technical experts, and the public that were received throughout the process.”

The regulations provide for Coastal Zone Conversion Permits to return industrial sites to active or more productive use while ensuring the protection of natural resources.

The new Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone can be found online at Delaware’s Register of Regulations.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 229

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DNREC seeking volunteers for Delaware Coastal Cleanup

DELAWARE COASTAL CLEANUP VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION TO CLOSE SEPT. 2

DOVER – Volunteers are still needed and encouraged to join the 32nd annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 14. Sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the cleanup spans more than 45 sites in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties, including river and ocean shorelines, as well as wetland and watershed areas.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to preregister at https://de.gov/coastalcleanup to ensure enough supplies are readied for each Cleanup site. Preregistration will close Monday, Sept. 2.

Cleanup sites that still need additional volunteers include:

Kent County
• Big Stone Beach
• Bennetts Pier

Sussex County
• Slaughter Beach
• Lewes Boat Ramp
• Deauville
• South Bethany Beach

Delaware’s Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines, rivers, streams, and lakes by volunteers. Information collected helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it. For more information, visit oceanconservancy.org.

For more information about the Delaware Coastal Cleanup, please contact Joanna Wilson, Delaware Coastal Cleanup coordinator, at 302-739-9902, or joanna.wilson@delaware.gov.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 49, No. 226