Governors Lead Bipartisan Effort to Prevent Dangerous Seismic Testing and Offshore Drilling

Trump Administration Approves Offshore Airgun Use, Governor Carney Joins Atlantic Seaboard Governors Urging Protection for Our Coast

WILMINGTON, Del. – Following the announcement that the Trump Administration authorized airgun use in waters off the East Coast, Governor John Carney and a group of bipartisan governors today urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt harmful seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

“As the governors of ten states on the Atlantic seaboard, we write to reiterate our strong opposition to seismic airgun surveys and oil and gas drilling off our coasts,” the governors wrote. “These activities pose an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to our coastal ecosystems and coastal economies.”

Today’s letter was signed by the following governors: Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Governor John Carney of Delaware; Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland; Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia; and Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island.

In November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Fisheries department issued incidental harassment authorizations (IHAs) for seismic airgun surveys to five companies searching for oil and gas deposits in the Atlantic. The decision follows months of vocal opposition from states along the East Coast, which have repeatedly urged the federal government to protect coastal tourism and fisheries by preventing seismic testing and offshore drilling.

In a letter sent today, the governors urged the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce to deny all permit applications for seismic testing, exclude the waters off the East Coast from the 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program for offshore drilling, avoid issuing further IHAs for seismic airgun surveys and prevent any future offshore drilling efforts in the Atlantic Ocean.

“Drilling in the Atlantic would pose significant threats to Delaware’s natural resources and our economy,” said Governor John Carney. “I am proud to stand with fellow Atlantic state governors in opposition to seismic testing and drilling for oil and gas off our coasts. There’s too much at risk for Delaware and the Atlantic Seaboard to allow this to go unchallenged.”

The full letter is available here.

Seismic testing and offshore drilling pose significant economic and environmental threats to communities along the Atlantic Coast, which generate more than $98 billion in gross domestic product each year. Seismic airgun pulses can deplete fish populations that are vital for commercial and recreational fishing industries and offshore drilling increases the risk of catastrophic oil spills, which devastate marine life and tourism and hurt coastal economies. Hundreds of tourism associations, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors’ bureaus, trade groups, businesses, elected officials and local governments have formally opposed seismic testing and offshore drilling.

For more information visit de.gov/nodrilling.

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Related news:
Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy


DNREC announces availability of Community Environmental Project Fund grant applications

Public workshops set for Nov. 14 and 15 on CEPF grant process and environmental project funding program

DOVER – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin today announced the availability of Community Environmental Project Fund (CEPF) applications administered by the Department. The CEPF grant program was created in 2004 by House Bill 192, as legislation that enables DNREC to withhold 25 percent of all civil or administrative penalties collected by the Department as CEPF funds.

HB 192 requires that CEPF funds benefit communities where civil or administrative violations occurred, and provides for the restoration of these affected communities by funding environmental projects that:

  • Reduce pollution.
  • Enhance natural resources.
  • Enhance natural resources for the purposes of creating recreational opportunities for the citizens of Delaware.

IRS tax-exempt organizations are eligible for CEPF grants of up to $20,000. Applications for the CEPF grants can be found on the DNREC website, or can be obtained by calling James Brunswick, DNREC community ombudsman, at 302-739-9040. The CEPF grant application deadline is Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 by DNREC’s close of business (4:30 p.m.)

DNREC will hold two public workshops Nov. 14 and 15 on the CEPF grant-funding program, scheduled as follows:

  • New Castle County: Wednesday, Nov. 14, 7-7:30 p.m., at DNREC’s Lukens Drive offices (Conference Room A, 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720)
  • Kent and Sussex Counties: Thursday, Nov. 15, 7-7:30 p.m. DNREC Auditorium, Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover DE 19901

Pre-registration is requested, but not required. Please email Lisa Myura or call 302-855-1915 to pre-register.

For an application form, and more information on the CEPF grant program, please visit the Community Environmental Project Fund web page.


Governor Carney Signs Legislation to Protect Delaware’s Coastal Waters and Economy

Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207 will prohibit and prevent offshore drilling in Delaware’s coastal waters

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday signed Senate Bill 200 and Senate Bill 207, two pieces of legislation aimed at protecting Delaware’s coasts from offshore drilling. These pieces of legislation will help maintain high-quality coastline waters and protect thousands of jobs supported by Delaware’s coastal tourism industry. Coast-related activities contribute almost $7 billion to Delaware’s economy.

Senate Bill 200 prohibits drilling for oil and natural gas in Delaware’s coastal zone and territorial waters, and precludes DNREC from issuing any permits in connection with the development of offshore drilling infrastructure. Senate Bill 207 opposes drilling off Delaware’s coast and directs certain state officials and agencies to enforce Delaware’s rights relating to offshore drilling under federal and state environmental laws.

“We have a responsibility to care for our coasts, and in turn, protect our state’s environment and economy,” said Governor Carney. “Offshore drilling presents a threat to the health of our coastal communities that we can’t ignore, and these two pieces of legislation will help prevent drilling in our waters. A large part of Delaware’s tourism industry depends on clean coasts, and Delawareans and visitors alike will benefit from these protections signed into law today. Thank you to members of the General Assembly for this bipartisan effort and to advocates for their tireless work to protect Delaware’s coasts, environment and economy.”

“Promoting clean alternative energy development in the Atlantic region, along with the continued conservation of our marine and estuarine habitats, and the success of our coastal economy are of the utmost importance to the citizens of Delaware,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin.

“The state’s beaches are a treasure, which the National Resource Defense Council has consistently rated as the cleanest on the East Coast,” said Liz Keller, Delaware Tourism Director. “They are important for the tourism industry in the state, and it is essential to maintain their good health.”

“Standing against offshore drilling is a no-brainer for Delaware,” said Senator Stephanie Hansen. “Washington, D.C. may have forgotten disasters like those in the Gulf, Alaska and Santa Barbara – but I haven’t, and neither have bipartisan leaders across our state. Delaware’s beaches are some of the cleanest in the country, are home to a unique marine ecosystem, and are vital to our state’s crucial tourism industry. It takes just one accident to change all of that overnight. Our economy, our budget, and our environment can’t afford that mistake.”

“I am proud to be a prime sponsor of this important bipartisan effort,” said Senator Ernesto “Ernie” Lopez. “Defending our beautiful beaches and our unique coastal environment from the potential negative impact of off-shore drilling is not a Republican issue or a Democratic issue: It is a Delaware issue and has been of the highest priority for the people of the 6th District and to me as their State Senator.”

“We welcome millions of visitors to Rehoboth and Dewey every year. They come here for our award-winning, pristine beaches and clean air. They contribute billions to our local economy. All of that could be jeopardized by offshore drilling,” said House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf. “Delawareans have to stand together against something that could do so much damage to our community and our state, and that’s exactly what the General Assembly did by overwhelmingly passing these bills.”

“The risks involved with offshore drilling are greater than many people realize. There have been 44 major oil spills off the United States coast since 1969, several with catastrophic effects on the environment and local economy,” said Representative Debra Heffernan. “We can’t allow that to happen to Delaware, and we have to take whatever steps we can to protect our environment.”

“I am thrilled that Delaware is taking this important step, and I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of this bipartisan bill,” said Senate Minority Whip Greg Lavelle. “Our coastline is a critical natural resource, and the risk of damaging our waterways through a drilling accident far outweighs the benefit of any oil that could be extracted.”

“It means a lot to see and hear leadership at the state level,” said Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns. “It validates our concerns and efforts to maintain a clean and healthy coast that is vital to our economy and families who come to enjoy our beautiful beaches. In publicly opposing offshore drilling activities, Governor Carney is standing with our coastal communities, who have the most to lose and who have overwhelmingly opposed these efforts.”

“The City of Lewes is very pleased that Governor Carney is signing SB 200 and SB 207,” said Lewes Mayor Ted Becker. “Lewes was the first city to adopt a resolution opposing seismic testing – a precursor to offshore drilling – in November 2015. Since then the six other coastal communities, all members of the Association of Coastal Towns (ACT), have adopted similar resolutions as a demonstration of our collective serious concern regarding the potentially devastating impact offshore drilling could have on marine mammals and the extremely important economic contribution of tourism to the economy of our state.”

“The Delaware Coast and its estuaries form essential marine habitat for over 32 species of marine mammals and sea turtles,” said Suzanne Thurman, MERR Institute Executive Director. “Many of these species are endangered, and three large whale species are experiencing an Unusual Mortality Event. These magnificent creatures need to be protected from the devastation of harmful oil and gas drilling, which even in its daily operation will contaminate the marine ecosystem, and in the event of a spill would be catastrophic. MERR is very pleased to see these important bills signed into law today, and for the far reaching protection they will provide for our coastal waters and the welfare of marine species.”

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Charter School of Wilmington wins 2018 Delaware Envirothon competition sponsored by DNREC

GREENWOOD – Charter School of Wilmington Team A was named the champion of the 2018 Delaware Envirothon competition held Thursday, April 26 at Swartzentruber Farm in Greenwood and sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Charter School of Wilmington won the school’s 19th Envirothon championship in the event’s 23-year history, including an unbroken winning streak since 2002.

Team A (pictured above) is Ashley Pennington, Harshitha Henry, Priyanka Hoskere, Siddharth Gangrade, and Tara Lennon. Charter School of Wilmington Teams’ B and C placed second and third, respectively, in this year’s Envirothon competition.

All 110 students stepped into the outdoor classroom of a 200-acre grass-fed beef cattle operation to test their knowledge of natural resources after preparing all school year. Each of the 22 teams answered questions, reviewed specimens and took measurements in topics dealing with aquatic ecology, soils/land-use, wildlife, forestry, air quality and the current environmental issue of pasture management. Teams also gave a seven- to 10-minute oral presentation of a scenario in which they developed a management plan to optimize grazing potential, enhance wildlife in the area and improve water quality. After more than three hours of testing, Charter School of Wilmington Team A was named the 2018 state champion.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon, an award plaque for their school, and additional prizes. Charter School of Wilmington Team A will also advance to represent Delaware in the 2018 National Conservation Foundation Envirothon at Idaho State University this summer. The second-, third- and fourth-place teams received more than $1,155 in special team awards and cash prizes.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams. The official results are as follows:

  • First place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team A
  • Second place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team B
  • Third place: Charter School of Wilmington, Team C
  • Fourth place: MOT Charter, Team A
  • Fifth place: Middletown High School, Team Sneaky Snakes
  • Sixth place: Peach Blossom 4-H Club
  • Seventh place: Middletown High School FFA, Team Envirotots

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $57,500 in scholarships to 115 students. The competition is sponsored annually by DNREC and hosted by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local districts.

For more information about the Delaware Envirothon, please visit www.delawareenvirothon.org or contact Rick Mickowski at 302-832-3100 ext. 113.

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

Vol. 48, No. 96


Governor Carney, Atlantic Governors Issue Joint Letter to U.S. Department of Interior Opposing Offshore Drilling

Bipartisan group includes Governors from Massachusetts to North Carolina; letter sent to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney joined a bipartisan group of seven Atlantic state governors in issuing a joint letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, opposing the Trump Administration’s plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. Along with Governor Carney, the Governors of Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Virginia signed the letter. The Governors requested an exemption from new oil and gas drilling off their states and the entire Atlantic Coast, similar to the exemption offered to the State of Florida.

Read the full letter here. The following are excerpts:

“Like Florida, each of our states has unique natural resources and an economy that is reliant on tourism as an essential driver. We support the notion of energy diversity, but the environmental and economic importance of the Atlantic Ocean must be weighed against the potential unintended consequences of these types of activities.”

“Not only are ocean and oceanside resources at risk, but also nearby bays, estuaries, coastal communities, iconic natural areas, and ports. The irreversible impact on ecosystems including marine mammals, fish, sea turtles, and other aquatic life that inhabit the ocean offshore is gravely concerning, as is potential risk and harm to our state’s economies, our natural resources, our military installations, and our residents.”

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Related news:
Governor Carney Releases Statement on Call with U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke
Governor Carney Requests Meeting with Secretary Zinke to Discuss Offshore Drilling Plan
Governor Carney Releases Statement on Trump Administration’s Offshore Drilling Plan
Governor Carney to Trump Administration: No Drilling in the Atlantic