EPA Reinstates California’s Vehicle Emissions Waiver, Helping to Get Delaware’s Air Quality Back on Track

DNREC’s Clean Transportation Incentive Programs offer rebates and incentives for electric and bi-fuel vehicles, as well as for the installation of public charging stations

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision this week to reinstate a California waiver that contains more stringent emissions limits for passenger vehicles in 14 states, including Delaware, has drawn praise from Delaware’s leaders for helping curtail air pollution while improving air quality. Governor John Carney called it “a necessary action to restore California’s authority under the Clean Air Act” while Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin said the ruling enabled Delaware to “take the wheel and better steer our very determined and ongoing efforts to improve the state’s air quality.”

EPA’s actions as directed by the Biden Administration put back in place the California waiver, which gave that state the ability to set vehicle emissions standards that are more stringent than federal requirements. Reinstating the California waiver gives other states the authority either to follow federal standards or to adopt the more stringent standards set by California. Delaware adopted California’s Low Emission Vehicle standards in 2010. Delaware and the other 13 states and the District of Columbia who have adopted the California emissions standards have reduced their greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions while improving air quality, and also capitalized on the California waiver for helping mitigate the effects of climate change and sea level rise.

Having recently unveiled Delaware’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines strategies for the state to transition to zero-emission vehicles and energy-efficient transportation systems, Governor Carney hailed the EPA’s restoration of the waiver, which will again require automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as emissions of other harmful air pollutants.

“Delawareans, and all Americans, stand to benefit from putting cleaner cars on our roads and being proactive toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Governor Carney said. “Revoking the California waiver ignored the longstanding authority in the Clean Air Act for states to adopt California’s stronger vehicle emission standards. This is critical to Delaware for mitigating the impacts of climate change. Delaware is the lowest-lying state, and the transportation sector has become a significant contributor in degrading our air quality. This action puts us in position to move beyond that temporary roadblock toward a cleaner future – with cleaner air – for Delawareans.”

DNREC Secretary Garvin said that even after EPA rescinded the California waiver, Delaware remained focused on making progress toward improving air quality. For example, DNREC’s Clean Transportation Incentive Programs offer rebates and incentives for electric and bi-fuel vehicles, as well as for the installation of public charging stations.

“We continue to provide opportunities for clean vehicle ownership so that Delawareans can take an active role in improving our state’s air quality while also helping us take on one of the state’s major challenges to public health,” Secretary Garvin said. “Today we can thank the EPA for making the road ahead less cumbersome for our clean air future.”

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov.


DNREC Solicits Requests for Proposals for Phase 4 of Settlement Mitigation Awards

$3.4 Million in Funding Available to Improve State’s Air Quality

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control today issued a request for proposals (RFP) for investments of $3.4 million from the Environmental Mitigation Trust on projects that improve the state’s air by reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). A virtual public meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to help organizations apply for the grants by close of business on Monday, March 21.

“The Environmental Mitigation Trust is another opportunity from DNREC to help businesses, non-profit organizations, state agencies and individual citizens in our state to improve air quality,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “I encourage Delaware organizations to submit proposals for projects that will produce tangible results in reducing air pollution and help us move closer to our goal of clean air for Delaware.”

Eligible mitigation actions include projects to reduce NOx from heavy-duty diesel sources. Eligible projects include the replacement or repowering of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, and school and transit buses. Other eligible mitigation actions include engine repower for freight switcher locomotives, ferries, tugs, forklifts and port cargo handling equipment. Or, they may also include, in a more limited capacity, charging infrastructure for light-duty zero emission passenger vehicles. Details are outlined in the RFP, published at bids.delaware.gov.

The funding comes from federal redress against Volkswagen Corporation and its subsidiaries for installing emissions “defeat devices” on its diesel vehicles in violation of the federal Clean Air Act. Use of these devices increased NOx emissions throughout the country, up to 40 times the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit, resulting in adverse impacts to air quality and felt particularly in Delaware, where the transportation sector is the state’s leading source of air pollution.

The $3.4 million in funding available this year to Delaware covers the fourth and final phase of the federal settlement with the automaker – and the state’s last disbursement from a total $9.6 million from the trust since 2019.

This year’s solicitation of RFPs aligns with previous project awards, going for upgrades to cleaner-fueled vehicles. These projects included:

  • Phase 1 is a multi-year partnership with the Delaware Department of Education (DDoE), which leveraged the EPA Diesel Emissions Reduction Program (DERA) grants and the Environmental Mitigation Trust, to replace a total of 115 state-owned diesel school buses with buses that operate on clean diesel or propane. DDoE plans to replace additional school buses in Year 4, and exhaust all Phase 1 funds in 2022.
  • Phase 2 supported grants to Waste Management of Delaware, which replaced 10 diesel solid waste refuse vehicles with trucks that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG), and to The Teen Warehouse in Wilmington, which upgraded to an electric zero-emissions school bus using the DERA grant and the Environmental Mitigation Trust.
  • Phase 3 plans included the replacement of nine diesel school buses with two private transportation providers and five government-owned Class 4-7 medium diesel trucks. Replacement projects for one school bus and the five government-owned medium trucks were delayed to due COVID-19 and will be completed in the fall of 2022. DNREC also announced an RFP in the fall for installation of direct current, or DC-fast electric vehicle charging stations.

Comments and questions may be made in advance of the Feb. 15 public meeting. They will be considered for DNREC response during the meeting. Contact and login information is available on the DNREC online calendar at de.gov/dnrecmeetings. Additionally, written questions will be received by the DNREC Division of Air Quality until Feb. 22.

The solicitation can be found on the state Office of Management and Budget website. The final phase of Environmental Mitigation Trust funds are expected to be awarded during the second half of 2022. More information on the Environmental Mitigation Plan is available at de.gov/vwmitigation.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Delaware Climate Action Plan Virtual Presentations Scheduled Dec. 6 and 9

DNREC to Provide Overview of Strategies to Minimize Emissions, Maximize Resilience

[versión en español]

 

Delawareans interested in strategies for minimizing emissions and maximizing resilience to the impacts of climate change identified in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan have two opportunities to learn more at upcoming presentations from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The presentations will be available in both English and Spanish.

Gov. John Carney released Delaware’s Climate Action Plan Nov. 4.

The Plan, which builds off decades of work, was created to:

  • Help Delaware meet its current commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26% from 2005 levels by 2025;
  • Integrate actions for both minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing resilience to climate change impacts;
  • Set Delaware on a course for continuing climate action in the decades ahead.

“Delaware’s Climate Action Plan identifies practical strategies we can take to maximize our state’s resilience to climate change impacts and minimize planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “It builds off past and present work. The strategies are ambitious, but attainable, and can be implemented over time, as resources, data and partnerships develop.”

The presentation will begin with opening remarks from Secretary Garvin, followed by a review of the climate impacts in Delaware and how the public and state agencies contributed to creating the Climate Action Plan.

The presentation will then highlight actions and strategies for minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and maximizing our resilience to climate change impacts identified in the Plan, as well as look at next steps and guiding principles for implementation.

Time permitting, presenters will be able to answer questions that participants may have.

The presentation will be offered twice. The first presentation will take place Monday, Dec. 6, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. A link to registration for the Dec. 6 presentation is available from de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

The second presentation will take place Thursday, Dec. 9, from 7 to 8 p.m. Registration for the Dec. 9 presentation is available from de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

Attendees who wish to use the Spanish translator or closed-captioning will need to download the most-up-to date version of Zoom prior to the presentation.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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Presentaciones Virtuales del Plan de Acción Climática de Delaware Fechas: 6 y 9 de diciembre

El DNREC Ofrecerá un resumen de las estrategias para minimizar las emisiones y maximizar la resiliencia

Los habitantes de Delaware interesados en saber las estrategias para minimizar las emisiones y maximizar la resiliencia a los impactos del cambio climático identificados en el Plan de Acción Climática de Delaware tienen dos oportunidades de informarse más sobre el tema en dos próximas presentaciones que ofrecerá el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Control Ambiental (DNREC). Ambas presentaciones estarán disponibles tanto en inglés como en español.

El Gob. John Carney dio a conocer el Plan de Acción Climática de Delaware el 4 de noviembre.

El plan, que ha acumulado décadas de trabajo, se creó con el propósito de:

  • Ayudar a Delaware a cumplir con su compromiso actual de lograr reducir al menos un 26 por ciento los niveles de emisiones de gas invernadero que tenía en el 2005 para el 2025;
  • Integrar las acciones tanto para minimizar las emisiones de gas invernadero como para maximizar la resiliencia a los impactos del cambio climático;
  • Colocar a Delaware en el camino de una acción climática continua en las próximas décadas.

“El Plan de Acción Climática de Delaware identifica las estrategias prácticas que se deben tomar para maximizar la resiliencia de nuestro estado a los impactos del cambio climático y minimizar el calentamiento global de emisiones de gas invernadero,” dijo Shawn M. Garvin, Secretario de DNREC. “Producto de un trabajo pasado y presente, las estrategias del Plan pueden implementarse a través del tiempo, a medida que se desarrollan recursos, datos y convenios.”

La presentación comenzará con unas palabras de apertura del Secretario Garvin, seguidas por un análisis de los impactos climáticos en Delaware y cómo el público y las agencias estatales contribuyeron en la creación del Plan de Acción Climática.

Luego la exposición resaltará las acciones y estrategias para minimizar las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero y para maximizar nuestra resiliencia a los impactos de cambios climáticos identificados en el Plan; y revisará los próximos pasos y las líneas directrices para su implementación.

Si el tiempo lo permite, los expositores podrán responder a las preguntas que puedan tener los participantes.

Esta presentación se ofrecerá en dos oportunidades. La primera se llevará a cabo el lunes 6 de diciembre, de 12:30 a 1:30 p.m. Para inscribirse en esta presentación del 6 de diciembre, puede entrar al vínculo de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

La segunda presentación se llevará a cabo el jueves 9 de diciembre, de 7 a 8 p.m. Para inscribirse en esta presentación del 9 de diciembre, puede entrar al vínculo de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

Los asistentes que deseen usar el traductor al español o los subtítulos, deberán descargar la versión más actualizada de Zoom antes de la presentación.

Sobre DNREC
El Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Control Ambiental de Delaware protege y administra los recursos naturales de Delaware, protege la salud pública, ofrece oportunidades de recreación al aire libre y educa a los habitantes de Delaware sobre el ambiente. La División de Clima, Costas y Energía usa las ciencias, educación, políticas de desarrollo e incentivos para abordar los retos climáticos, energéticos y costeros. Para mayor información, visite la página Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control y conéctese con @DelawareDNREC por Facebook, Twitter o LinkedIn.

Contacto de Prensa: Nikki Lavoie, Nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov o Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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Superior Court dismisses lawsuit against DNREC challenging Delaware’s participation in Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

The logo for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ControlDOVER – Delaware Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes has dismissed a lawsuit that challenged Delaware’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative program among nine states that reduces carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and funds energy efficiency and renewable energy programs in RGGI states, including Delaware.

The lawsuit, Stevenson, et al. v. Delaware Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control, et al., was brought in December 2013 by David T. Stevenson, R. Christian Hudson, and John A. Moore, who claimed that the state’s participation in the program caused an increase in their electric bills. Judge Stokes issued his decision dismissing the suit June 26, stating that the plaintiffs, after more than four years of litigation, had failed to demonstrate that RGGI affected their electric bills.

“We are pleased the Court’s decision allows Delaware to continue with this market-based, environmentally-conscious and cost-effective collaboration that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions and supports a clean energy economy,” said Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “RGGI is vital in supporting energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean transportation programs that save Delawareans energy and money. RGGI helps us provide for our energy needs while reducing our contributions to climate change.

“DNREC is pleased to continue our involvement with RGGI, and also to be the state agency that directs the benefits this landmark regional initiative brings to the people of Delaware,” Secretary Garvin said.

Delaware has participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative since its inception in 2008, and is one of nine current member states along with Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. RGGI sets a cap on overall carbon dioxide emissions, and sells emissions allowances to electricity generators through a competitive auction.

In June 2008, the Delaware General Assembly approved Delaware’s participation in RGGI through Senate Bill 263, which also mandated that Delaware use RGGI proceeds to fund programs that promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income programs. These programs help residents, businesses, local governments, and non-profits lower their energy use and costs, support cleaner air quality, and through rebates and incentives also have helped over 750 Delaware drivers in buying electric vehicles for their transportation needs.

The Superior Court’s decision can be found on the State of Delaware website at https://courts.delaware.gov/Opinions/Download.aspx?id=275020 .

Media contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 175

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