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.


Garvin Statement on the Nomination of Michael Regan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Delaware Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Shawn M. Garvin, a former Regional Administrator of EPA Region 3, issued the following statement:

“I applaud the selection by President-Elect Biden of my state environmental colleague Secretary Michael Regan to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I’m especially pleased that EPA will be led by someone from a coastal state facing the same climate-related issues as Delaware. Secretary Regan’s career — at the EPA, in the non-profit and private sectors, and currently as the leader of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality — gives him the experience and skill to address the challenges of environmental justice, climate change, safe and clean water, and cleaner air, just to name a few. His reliance on science and the rule of law, along with his compassion and understanding, make him the right person at this critical moment for our country and our planet. I congratulate Secretary Regan and commend President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris for this nomination.”

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 DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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Delaware growers allowed to use up existing dicamba stock

DOVER, Del. (June 9, 2020) – Following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to vacate three dicamba registrations, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued guidance that will allow Delaware growers to used existing stocks of the three dicamba products affected.

“While we are disappointed with the Court’s decision in vacating these product registrations, we are grateful that EPA has announced that growers and pesticide applicators will be able to use these dicamba products through July 31,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “As long as environmental conditions are favorable, this timeframe should allow growers to spray their crops to combat weeds like pigweed, palmar amaranth, and other glyphosate-resistant weeds so they don’t see a reduction in crop yield.”

EPA has since announced the issuance of the final cancellation order for three pesticide products containing the active ingredient dicamba pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA):

  • Xtendimax with Vaporgrip Technology, EPA Reg. No. 524-6 17
  • Engenia, EPA Reg. No. 7969-345
  • FeXapan, EPA Reg. No. 352-9 13

Commercial and private pesticide applicators who were in possession of these products as of June 3 when the Court’s decision was announced, may continue to use these products until July 31. Distribution or sale of the product is prohibited except for ensuring proper disposal or when returning the product to the registrant.

Dicamba is primarily used on soybean crops in Delaware but is also labeled for use in cotton production.

Pesticide applicators who have more questions can review the EPA cancellation order, They should reach out to their chemical sales representatives for information regarding disposal or returning any remaining product. Applicators should continue to follow all label instructions when applying dicamba products.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, stacey.hofmann@delaware.gov


Governor Carney’s Statement on EPA’s Replacement of Clean Power Plan

Governor John Carney released the following statement after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announced its decision to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule:

“I’m disappointed in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to replace the Clean Power Plan with the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, which removes a strong incentive for states and the Federal government to work together to protect and improve air quality.

“Delaware citizens and our economy will be negatively affected by the ACE Rule. Rising average temperatures and prolonged heat waves pose critical health risks to Delaware farmers, outdoor workers, children, and the elderly. Changing climate conditions will increase local levels of particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which increase the risk our residents face of premature death and chronic heart and lung problems, and many of these pollutants are transported from states to the west of us. These threats will only increase if we do not take a stance as a nation and a global community to reduce the human emissions of greenhouse gases that feed rapid climate change.

“We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change and the dangers it poses to all of us.”

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Dicamba applicators urged to check Pesticide Use Limitation Areas before spraying

DOVER, Del. – The Delaware Department of Agriculture is urging all pesticide applicators that plan to use dicamba this growing season to check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) online Bulletins Live! Two system on a monthly basis before spraying. This new online system allows agriculture and other pesticide users to easily determine where pesticide use limitation areas (PULA) exist due to the protection of endangered species.

“I would encourage farmers and other pesticide applicators to print a copy of the bulletin and carry it with them during the application. In case they get questioned, this verifies that they have checked the website before the application,” said Christopher Wade, DDA Pesticides Section Administrator. “Since the bulletin and the corresponding maps are only valid for a month, applicators need to complete this process every month.”

Currently, Sussex County is the only county in Delaware with Dicamba Pesticide Use Limitation Areas. The online system provides a more detailed view of where the PULA is located compared to receiving a county level impact that is not truly county-wide.

To make it easy to find, the Delaware Department of Agriculture has linked the Bulletins Live! Two online system to their webpage at https://de.gov/pesticides. Users will need to enter in their address into the search bar and if there is an effective PULA identified it will be displayed in a pink color. Clicking on the PULAs will reveal a summary of the products, codes, and limitations required.

Dicamba is an herbicide that can be applied to the leaves or soil to control annual and broadleaf weeds in grain crops and pastures. If the pesticide label directs the applicator to the online Bulletins Live! Two system, then the applicator is required to follow the pesticide use limitation(s) found in the Bulletin for the intended application area, pesticide active ingredient or product, and application month.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov