Governor Carney’s Statement on Repeal of Clean Power Plan

WILMINGTON, Del.Governor John Carney on Tuesday issued the following statement on the Trump Administration’s repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The goal of the Clean Power Plan is to reduce carbon pollution from coal-, oil-, and natural gas-burning power plants, and combat the threat of climate change.

“Delawareans up and down our state are already experiencing the effects of climate change and sea level rise. Delaware is the lowest-lying U.S. state, and 17,000 homes here are at permanent risk of inundation. Rising average temperatures and stronger storms pose risks to our $8 billion agricultural industry and threaten our natural resources. And unchecked air pollution presents health risks for all Delawareans.

“The Clean Power Plan set national targets for carbon emission reductions, but provided flexibility for the states to determine how best to achieve these targets. We have worked hard in Delaware to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and partner with other states in addressing pollution that feeds rapid climate change. This proposed replacement of the Clean Power Plan will make our efforts to reduce carbon pollution more difficult, and will remove a strong incentive for state and federal governments to work together to clean up our air.

“Put simply, it’s a bad idea to abandon any tool we have to fight climate change together. Through the U.S. Climate Alliance, we are already working with states to uphold the goals of the Paris climate agreement. But today, I join leaders across our country in calling on the Trump Administration to abandon this new proposed rule and reinstate the Clean Power Plan so we can provide the global leadership necessary to confront this threat.”

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Governor Carney Urges EPA to Reconsider Proposal to Freeze Vehicle Emission Standards

EPA plans to freeze fuel-economy requirements at 2020 levels

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its proposal to freeze federal vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency standards, and revoke the right of states to protect their citizens from harmful air pollution.

The proposal’s adoption would mean Delawareans breathe more polluted air while the state loses ground in the fight against climate change and sea level rise, and motorists pay more at the pump. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced Thursday the proposal to roll back Light Duty Vehicle Standards which, in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fuel economy standards, require automakers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the fuel economy of passenger vehicles.

EPA plans to freeze gas-mileage and fuel-economy requirements at 2020 levels, and remove California’s ability to determine its own vehicle regulations for greenhouse gas emissions. Rescinding California’s authority is particularly troubling because 12 states, including Delaware, and the District of Columbia, have adopted California’s more stringent emission standards, which help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Delaware is committed to expanding the ability of our citizens to choose clean vehicles,” said Governor Carney. “I urge the EPA and the Trump Administration to reevaluate this proposal, which impedes states’ rights and authority to improve air quality, and to consider the long-term economic and environmental impacts from a freeze on vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency standards. Delaware intends to fight this proposal, which would lead to serious setbacks in the state’s efforts to clean up our air and stimulate job creation through clean technology deployment.”

“EPA’s proposal would further thwart our efforts to achieve better air quality and, just like what Delawareans face in out-of-state pollution crossing our borders, would be detrimental to public health, and hurt Delawareans in our wallets, too,” said Shawn M. Garvin, Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. “But whatever the outcome of EPA’s proposal, Delaware will continue to manage environmental programs and enact policies that foster transportation innovation and further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.”

The State of Delaware adopted California’s Low Emission Vehicle standards in 2010.

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DNREC produces wetlands report card and management recommendations on the Smyrna River Watershed

DOVER – A new “wetlands report card” for the Smyrna River Watershed is now available from DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program – the ninth in a series of watershed-specific wetland health reports produced by the Department. The Smyrna River Watershed extends into both Kent and New Castle counties, where agriculture (46 percent) and wetlands (27 percent) primarily dominate the landscape. The wetlands report card indicates that wetlands in the Smyrna watershed were in better-than-average condition when rated against other previously assessed Delaware watersheds, earning an overall B-minus grade.

Nearly half (47 percent) of the wetlands found in the Smyrna River Watershed were the saltwater tidal variety. Other dominant wetland types include freshwater forested flats, riverine, and depressions. Saltwater tidal and freshwater flat wetlands were in the best health of the four types evaluated. Both received a B- grade, mostly as a result of invasive plant species and development closely surrounding the wetlands. Tidal wetlands in this area were in better health compared to most in Delaware due to a lack of man-made ditches.

Teams of wetland scientists from DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship and the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary gained permission to visit a total of 122 randomly-selected sites within the Smyrna River Watershed. Using condition assessment checklists and biological metrics, they found that wetlands in the watershed were in fair condition, and that the most common stressors were invasive plants; the digging, filling, and/or ditching of wetlands; and agriculture or development in the buffer area closely surrounding the wetland.

DNREC’s data were used to create a technical report and a more user-friendly report card that summarized not only the health of the Smyrna River Watershed’s wetlands, but also examined the change in wetland acreage in recent decades, what value wetlands provide, and how recent changes in land use will impact wetlands. Already, 32 percent of this watershed’s original wetlands have been lost, primarily due to conversion to development and agriculture. Meanwhile, in their ongoing preservation work, DNREC’s Wetland Monitoring and Assessment program continues to emphasize how wetlands are beneficial resources for both people and wildlife, and that impacts to their health reduce a wetland’s ability to perform and diminish fully, minimizing its valuable role in controlling flooding and erosion, improving water quality, and providing beautiful habitats for us all.

Based on results included in the report, DNREC made recommendations to scientists, decision makers, and landowners to improve the future health of the Smyrna River Watershed’s wetlands. These included: encouraging planting buffers around streams and wetlands; promoting restoration of degraded wetlands; improving protection of non-tidal freshwater wetlands; using best management practices in agricultural operations, and exploring innovative shoreline protection techniques such as living shorelines.

The wetland reports and the work of the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program are made possible by EPA Region 3 Wetland Program Development funding. To view more details on the Smyrna River Watershed or for more information on assessment methods, please visit de.gov/watershedhealth.

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

Vol. 48, No. 206


DNREC to hold public meeting July 16 on EPA’s proposed denial of Delaware’s Clean Air Act petitions to reduce air pollution originating elsewhere from coming into the state

The logo for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ControlWILMINGTON (July 10, 2018) – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold a public meeting Monday, July 16 to enable Delawareans to express their opinion about the US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to deny the state’s 126(b) Clean Air Act petitions aimed at reducing air pollution that comes into Delaware after originating elsewhere. The public meeting will be held from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. in Room A112, Wing A, Delaware Technical Community College Stanton Campus, 400 Stanton Christiana Rd., Newark, DE 19713.

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin scheduled the July 16 public meeting in response to EPA’s refusal to provide a more convenient venue to Delawareans for voicing their opinion of EPA’s proposed denial of the CAA petitions, and also on account of EPA’s sharply limiting the public comment period for the agency’s proposed actions. EPA held a public hearing in Washington, D.C., June 22 – only 15 days after the agency announced it would deny Delaware’s Clean Air Act petitions – failing to act on both Secretary Garvin’s requests for not less than 45 days for public comment and a later date for EPA’s hearing to be held in Delaware.

“We are holding this meeting to provide an opportunity for the public to comment about the transmission of air pollution from out of state into Delaware,” Secretary Garvin said. “The Department has pursued – and will continue to pursue – voluntary and collaborative efforts with partner states to ensure upwind power plants meet the same stringent standards Delaware is required to meet. All Delawareans would agree that it is now time for EPA to hold upwind sources accountable for ozone emissions that are impacting downwind states.”

More information about the meeting can be found on the Delaware Public Meeting Calendar at https://publicmeetings.delaware.gov/Meeting/60043. Comments from the public meeting will be submitted to EPA in the form of a transcript on behalf of all who speak on the proposed denial of the CAA petitions, to EPA’s federal docket (EPA-HQ-OAR-2018-0295). More information from EPA on its proposed denial of Delaware’s 126(b) petitions can be found on EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution/proposed-action-clean-air-act-section-126-petitions-delaware-and-maryland. Acting Director David Fees of DNREC’s Division of Air Quality gave testimony on Delaware’s behalf at EPA’s public hearing last week in Washington that can be found on the DNREC website.

Anyone interested in speaking at the meeting can sign up until 4 p.m. Friday, July 13 by sending an email to Valerie.Gray@delaware.gov of the Division of Air Quality. Written comments about the EPA’s proposed denial of the 126(b) petitions also can be submitted to Ms. Gray via email, but must be received by 4 p.m., Friday, July 13.

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

Vol. 48, No. 185

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Related news:

Tell the EPA: Delawareans Deserve Clean Air

Governor Carney: EPA can’t let other states pollute Delaware’s air


DNREC wants EPA public hearing moved to Delaware, longer public comment period for EPA’s proposed Clean Air Act denial

DOVER – Following the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent proposal to deny Delaware recourse under the federal Clean Air Act for improving the state’s air quality, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin today urged EPA to follow regulatory procedure and provide the state with adequate opportunity to make a case for reducing out-of-state air pollution that comes into Delaware and continues to plague the First State.

On May 31, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a notice proposing to deny four CAA Section 126(b) petitions made by Delaware against four power plants in Pennsylvania and West Virginia that, according to EPA data, transport air pollution across state lines into Delaware. Governor John Carney responded with a public statement opposing EPA’s proposal to deny Delaware’s petitions.

The EPA has scheduled a public hearing on the proposed denial of the CAA petitions for June 22 in Washington, D.C.

In a letter to EPA, Secretary Garvin stated that “Delaware is deeply concerned at the setting of a public hearing less than two weeks after publishing EPA’s proposed action in the Federal Register.” Secretary Garvin requested that the public hearing take placce no sooner than 45 days following the date of publication of EPA’s proposed denial in the federal register, and that the public hearing be moved from Washington, D.C., to Wilmington.

Holding the hearing on the earlier date, as EPA intends, allows inadequate time for the state’s response to the proposed Delaware’s Clean Air Act petitions, Secretary Garvin wrote, and also noted that holding the public hearing in Washington, D.C., will limit participation by Delawareans, particularly those in the northern part of the state most affected by the poor air quality that besets Delaware from cross-state transport of air pollution.

In addition to a 45-day comment period leading up to the public hearing, Secretary Garvin requested that EPA hold open the comment period for at least 30 days following the hearing. In his letter, he noted that the EPA proposal signed by Administrator Pruitt indicated that EPA would receive written comments regarding the proposal for 45 days following the date that the proposal is published in the Federal Register. Yet on June 5, EPA released a notice of its intent to conduct the public hearing on June 22 at EPA’s headquarters in Washington.

CONTACT: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 154