Letter in the Delaware State News from Rep. John Kowalko

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Transparency sought in Delaware government

This governor’s unwillingness to engage and inform the public in matters of significant importance to their quality of life, such as the decision to remove the Rodney Square Bus Hub, is a violation of the public trust.

Implying that some conveniently created policy of “Executive Privilege” exists is inexcusably wrong. Without full transparency and openness in the government’s decision making processes we, (as legislators), cannot and should not expect to have the public’s confidence and trust in the policies we create and the decisions we make.

Delaware’s government has consistently and repeatedly resisted efforts to ensure that the public is totally informed of decisions and policies being made. Despite FOIA laws the executive branch and other agencies have repeatedly resisted and impeded public access to records and private meetings that have taken place leading to some of those decisions that are not in the best interests of the public taxpayer.

This abuse must stop immediately and the trust and confidence of the public should be restored if we are to expect that same public’s support for our policy decisions.

Rep. John Kowalko
Newark

COMMENTARY: Carper no friend of the environment

This appeared in the Delaware State News on July 22, 2018

Responding to the July 17 story “Carper: Delaware choked by ozone pollution from nearby states, urges action by EPA.”

I have known Tom Carper as congressman, governor and senator. He’s a skillful, hard-working professional politician who knows how to sell himself. He has an almost Trumpish ability to claim credit for doing the opposite of what he has actually done. Many stories can be told about Carper’s history of assaults on Delaware’s environment. Here are three: Continue reading

Titanium Dioxide as a carcinogen?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/11/uk-accused-of-green-brexit-hypocrisy-over-regulation-of-suspected-carcinogen

UK accused of ‘green Brexit hypocrisy’ over regulation of suspected carcinogen

Exclusive: UK attempted to weaken new EU regulations of a lucrative whitening chemical, Ti02, found in cosmetics and sunscreens

DuPont is/was one of the major makers of this stuff and the former DuPont Edge Moor plant made a lot of it.

Reminder: DNREC public hearing on water tank sandblasting lead paint regulation–July 12.

Here’s the official public notice:

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Air Quality (DAQ) will conduct a public hearing on proposed amendments to Delaware air regulations 7 DE Admin. Code 1101 and 1102 and a proposed source category permit.

This action will revise Section 15.0 of Appendix A of 7 DE Admin. Code 1102 to qualify that outdoor dry abrasive blasting of water tanks with lead-containing coatings are no longer exempt from obtaining a permit, add certain supporting definitions to 7 DE Admin. Code 1101, and approve a source category permit for dry abrasive blasting for removal of lead-containing coatings from outdoor water tanks.

The proposed regulatory amendments and copies of the source category permit are available for public review at the Department’s offices at 715 Grantham Lane in New Castle, DE and 100 West Water Street, Suite 6A in Dover, DE. They also will be available in the June 1, 2018 edition of the Delaware Register of Regulations at http://regulations.delaware.gov/services/register.shtml.

The proposed source category permit will be in the General Notices section. Please contact David Fees at (302) 739-9402 to make an appointment to inspect these documents.

NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT:
There will be a hearing on this proposed amendment on July 12, 2018 beginning at 6pm at the Kent County Levy Court, 555 S. Bay Road, Room 220, Dover, DE 19901. Interested parties may present oral or written comments regarding the proposed changes at the public hearing or in writing to David Fees, Division of Air Quality, DNREC, State Street Commons, 100 West Water Street, Suite 6A, Dover, DE 19904, or by email to david.fees@state.de.us. The hearing record will remain open until July 27, 2018.

Here are detailed comments submitted by Sarah and Amy.

Here are Green Delaware’s initial comments:

July 12, 2018
Lisa Vest, Hearing Officer

Dear Lisa:

I’m directing this to you on the assumption that you are the Hearing Officer in the subject matter.  If this is not correct, please advise.

Green Delaware will have some comments of our own, but at this point we wish to endorse entirely the comments submitted by Amy Roe and Sarah Bucic and dated July 12, 2018.

Said comments are attached to this email and incorporated, in full, by reference.  Please so place them in the record.

Exposure to lead is a serious public hazard in various ways, a key effect being a lifelong reduction in intellectual capacity.

One may suspect, then, that lead exposures may be playing a role in increasing the number of trump voters, an effect difficult to confirm or quantify, but obviously undesirable.

I would like to receive a copy of the transcript before submitting Green Delaware’s final comments on July 27th.  Therefore I request it as soon as possible.

Respectfully submitted,

[signed]

Alan Muller
Executive Director, Green Delaware

http://www.greendel.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Comments_-DNREC-a-Removal-of-Lead-Containing-Coatings-from-Outdoor-Water-Tanks-by-Dry-Abrasive-Blasting.pdf

July 9, 2018 is a Code Orange bad air day. Submit comments.

Try not to breathe, but support DNREC petitions to EPA

July 9, 2018 is an official Code Orange bad air day in Delaware. Bad air days occur often in Delaware, for example June 30th, July 2nd, and today, July 9th. Tomorrow, July 10th, may also be an official bad air day.

A Code Orange bad air day for ozone is also likely to be at least a Code Yellow bad air day for particulates (PM2.5). Frequently the combination of ozone, particles, heat, humidity, and allergens (pollen) make Delaware very unhealthy. Continue reading

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Lead paint bill needs attention

In the Delaware State News

Jun 27th, 2018

As we approach the end of the legislative session many bills compete for attention in the limited time remaining.

One that truly deserves the support of all is HB 456, banning use of lead paint in Delaware. Many don’t realize that lead paints can still be used except in residential settings and (supposedly) on toys, etc.

Probably most of us DO know that lead is very harmful to health, that exposure to lead dumbs down our kids. And, that there is “no safe level” of exposure.

Banning lead paints is a no-brainer, and many responsible paint makers have already stopped including lead in their products.

We hope all members of the General Assembly, of either party, will actively support getting House Bill 456 passed by both houses, without troublesome amendments, before end of session.

And, thanks to Sarah Bucic and Amy Roe for their leadership on this issue.

Alan Muller
Executive Director
Green Delaware

Note:  This bill has been approved unanimously by the House and Senate.  Great work by Sara Bucic, Amy Roe, and many others.

Communicating with Green Delaware, or any other org or movement (some more thoughts)


When Green Delaware got started in the mid-90s, we used email and worried about reaching people who didn’t have it.  We sent out lots of faxes.  We started up a website, now in its 3rd generation as a WordPress blog (greendel.org).

Times have changed.  Everybody is presumed, rightly or not, to have email.  (Our emails go out in about equal proportions to a Yahoo group and to a “Mailchimp” list.)  Fax is long gone.  Sometimes it seems that email is fading out in favor of various ways of “messaging.”

“Social media” is here in spades, facebook and twitter seeming dominant.   We have a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/greendel.org/), a facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/greendel/), and a Twitter account (@GreenDelaware).  In Facebook World, “pages” are considered to be more for announcements and “groups” are more for interactive discussion.  Do we really need both?

Probably the biggest downside of “social media” is that these are private businesses where there is no right of free speech.  They are run, essentially, to sell advertising.  They can shut you down any time they feel like it.

All these different ways of communicating are excessively time-consuming.  We’d like some feedback on priorities.   You can “like” the facebook page; you can “join” the facebook group; you can “follow” the Twitter account.  You can subscribe to our email list.  You can ignore all this social media and continue to get (fewer) emails. 

(See links on greendel.org)

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Congressional delegation letting Delaware down

Delaware State News,

It would be hard to exaggerate the poor representation the people of Delaware — as opposed to special interests — have in the U.S. Congress, but recent episodes might shed light on this ugly reality:

It became apparent that Sen. Chris Coons was the only Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee not opposing the confirmation of CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Green Delaware issued an action alert asking people to contact Coons about this. Coons responded with a press release saying “I will oppose [CIA] Director Pompeo’s nomination in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday,” correctly reciting various reasons the man is unsuitable to be Secretary of State. Continue reading

Air Pollution alert for Wednesday May 2nd

Delaware’s first major “ozone season” air pollution alert has been issued for tomorrow:

Wednesday, May 2nd, will be a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day for Delaware!

An early season air quality event is underway across the northern Mid-Atlantic region. Ozone has risen dramatically on Tuesday, much faster than expected, given the still relatively low temperatures by summer standards. The air mass in place appears to be quite polluted, with dilute smoke present from fires burning upwind across the southeastern U.S., which is fueling ozone formation. Wednesday will be warmer than Tuesday, with temperatures reaching into the mid-80s °F. Humidity will remain quite low, with clear skies allowing strong May solar radiation to promote rapid ozone formation. The only potentially limiting factor is breezy afternoon winds, but given the other ozone-conducive conditions in place, the uptick in afternoon atmospheric mixing is not expected to be enough to prevent daily ozone from reaching the Code Orange range. For more information about the air quality alerts and what you can do to reduce air pollution, check out the following website:

http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/AQI/Pages/AQIForecast.aspx A Code Orange air quality forecast for ozone is a level of pollution that can be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as young children, the elderly, and those with heart and/or respiratory conditions. Such persons should limit outdoor activities, especially those that require a high level of exertion. Any health related questions should be directed to the Division of Public Health at 302-739-6619. All other questions should be directed to the Division of Air Quality at 302-739-9402-

-This message was brought to you by the Division of Air Quality, DNREC.

Note that the forecast for particles is Code Yellow and  your health will be affected by the combination of these two pollutants, while the official alert system considers only the highest  one.  So in terms of likely health effects, Green Delaware would call this Code Red (unhealthy for everybody).  See more info.

Also note that the EPA Airnow site shows that almost the entire Delmarva Peninsula is already Code Orange today (Tuesday), while the State of Delaware monitors are showing Code Green.  This is odd because the state monitors are supposed to be the source of the Airnow data.  (Things may have changed by the time you see the information.)  This national map seems to be showing the Delmarva Peninsula as the largest high-ozone area in the US.

Air quality is likely to be bad for the next few days:

Extended Forecast:
Another day of USG [Unheathy for Sensitive Groups] ozone is possible on Thursday. The same air mass will be in place, and skies will remain mostly sunny. Humidity will be on the increase, however, which may make enough of a difference to drop ozone back into the Moderate range. More clouds are expected on Friday ahead of an approaching cold front, likely limiting ozone to the Moderate range. Moderate particle air quality will linger until Saturday, after the cold front passes through the state.

It’s also worth noting that ozone forecasting is seasonal and begins on May 1st.  Thus, the first day of the season in Delaware has been a real “opener.”

Please take care of your health and urge “your” elected officials to support cleaner air!  With the federal government in the hands of crooks, liars, and polluters, only local action is likely in the near term.

Also:  For those receiving Green Delaware emails via yahoogroups, this service has become increasingly unreliable in recent months, and messages are often delayed.  Many longtime yahoogroups users are moving to something else.  Any thoughts or suggestions on this would be appreciated.