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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Christmas tree recycling – a Delaware post-holiday tradition – carries on statewide for 2019/2020

Take your tree to a yard waste site or contact your waste collector

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control encourages Delawareans to recycle your Christmas tree at one of many yard waste recycling facilities located throughout the state, or to place your tree curbside for recycling. Whatever route you and your Christmas tree may take toward recycling, it’s always a good post-holiday destination that benefits the state environmentally.

“Recycling Christmas trees has been an environmentally-friendly tradition in the state for many years, and we hope that more Delawareans will continue that tradition this holiday season,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We also welcome residents who might be newcomers to recycling their Christmas trees – and thank them for helping to make our environment better.”

A list of yard waste sites accepting Christmas trees for recycling can be found on the DNREC website. Trees may be dropped off as soon as the day after Christmas, but each facility has a different schedule for accepting them, so you are advised to call ahead. Also, before loading your Christmas tree in your vehicle and traveling to a drop-off site, check with your regular trash hauler to see if they are collecting trees and what their schedule and requirements are. DNREC also reminds Delawareans Christmas trees are no longer accepted for recycling at any Delaware State Parks locations. Whether dropping off your Christmas tree or having it collected, the tree should always be stripped of all decorations and lights, have any flocking (fake snow) removed, and be detached from a tree stand.

For more information on Christmas tree recycling, visit www.de.gov/yardwaste, and click on “yard waste drop-off sites,” or call DNREC’s Recycling Program at 302-739-9403.

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

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DNREC Shoreline & Waterway Management Section promotes ‘design a sign, protect a dune’ awareness contest

DOVER – DNREC’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section is holding a “Keep Off the Dunes” signage contest, inviting the public to submit eye-catching and effective original artwork and messaging to remind beachgoers of the importance of protecting Delaware’s vibrant but fragile dune system.

Delaware’s Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay coastal dunes are vital in the state’s defense against coastal storms and extreme weather events. Dunes are also important natural habitats for plants and animals. To keep dunes strong enough to help protect our environment and the ecosystems they support, Delawareans need to protect the dunes by staying off of them. DNREC emphasizes this message by posting beach signs to encourage beach-goers to use provided crossovers along the dune system to avoid damaging the dunes.

For Keep Off the Dunes sign contest rules and additional information, please visit https://de.gov/dunesign. Deadline for entries is Sept. 2. Winners will be announced and their entries displayed at University of Delaware’s Coast Day Oct. 6. The winning artwork in the contest may be reproduced as signs and placed near dunes along Delaware’s coastline.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49. No. 169


DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation recognizes members of the Veterans Conservation Corps

DAGSBORO – At an event at Holts Landing State Park in Dagsboro, the DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation recognized 13 members of the Veterans Conservation Corps (VCC) for their commitment to preserving Delaware’s natural resources over the past 11 months. Since October 2018, the men and women involved in the VCC completed nearly 13,000 hours of service to DNREC to include the removal of invasive species spanning 1,000 acres, planting over 2,000 trees, and maintaining 173 miles of trails.

The Veterans Conservation Corps is an AmeriCorps National Service Program that enables military veterans and their family members to learn and perform environmental stewardship and trail maintenance throughout Delaware State Parks. VCC participants gain certification, education, and hands-on skills training in preparation for a career in the natural resources field.

“I sincerely thank the members of the Veterans Conservation Corps for their service to our country and for bringing their talents to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,” said DNREC Deputy Secretary Lisa Borin-Ogden. “Their time with us has concluded, but their contributions to the State of Delaware have made a long lasting impact.”

Applications for the 2019/2020 Program Year are now being accepted. This opportunity is available for military veterans, recently retired veterans, active guard and reserve members, military spouses and immediate family members. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Karen Minner, VCC Program Director, at 302.739.9208.

Media Contact: Jayme Gravell, DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation, 302-739-9112 or jayme.gravell@delaware.gov


Governor Carney, DNREC Secretary Garvin, Education Secretary Bunting join first-time campers at Governor’s Campout

FELTON – Governor John Carney, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin, and Delaware Department of Education Secretary Susan Bunting joined a group of third-graders and their families from South Dover, W. Reily Brown, and Star Hill elementary schools, for the 4th annual Delaware Outdoor Family – Governor’s Campout at Killens Pond State Park over the weekend.

The Governor’s Campout, part of Great Outdoors Month, offers the opportunity for families to become more familiar with camping, and helps to strengthen the relationship between family members, the environment, parks, and the community. This year, DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation partnered with the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), to focus on the importance of reading and science. The event was linked to the state Department of Education’s Next Generation Science Standards implementation, and the Governor’s and DDOE’s literacy initiative.

“Third grade literacy is critical to the future success of our students,” said Governor Carney. “This is the time when students shift from the fundamentals of learning how to read, to reading to learn. I’m proud we can launch our literacy plan while inspiring the next generation of park enthusiasts. Improving literacy and science education will better prepare Delaware students for success.”

“Getting young people outdoors is critical for their health and well-being,” said Secretary Garvin. “At the same time, science education and reading prepare Delaware’s youth for science careers, emphasizes their role in keeping our environment healthy, and helps our young people continue to be good environmental stewards.”

“Students need to develop strong literacy skills in order to successfully absorb information in math, science, social studies, the arts and every other subject,” said Secretary Bunting. “Outside the classroom, students can use the literacy and scientific skills they’ve acquired in outdoor explorations to better engage with their families, their environment, and their communities.”

Students and their families, teachers, staff, and others, participated in night hikes, stargazing, history and other programs over the weekend. They also took time out to enjoy the traditional camping treat, s’mores over a campfire.

Great Outdoors Month is a national celebration of state and national parks across the country. It includes events such as Capital Campouts, Governor’s Campouts, National Trails Day, National Get Outdoors Day, and the Great American Campout.

Contact: Beth Shockley, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 167