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The piece was slightly edited by the newspaper. The original as submitted is below:
Bad bill serves special interests, rips off utility ratepayers
As Delaware reaches the peak of its political season, there’s no more powerful example of the prevailing special interest chokehold than Senate Bill 80. This bill would create a new line item charge (“distribution system improvement charge”) on Delmarva Power electric and gas bills, without meaningful opportunities for public review of the additional charges. Total charges without a “rate case” could amount to $24 million. Continue reading
A draft bill circulated by Delmarva Power (Excelon) lobbyists would create a new means for the utility to reach deeper into ratepayers’ pockets with reduced oversight. The scheme, called a “Distribution System Improvement Charge” would allow millions of dollars to be added to bills without authorization in a formal “rate case,” supposedly to solve a problem that does not exist.
DPL seeks to collect up to $17 million in additional electric charges and $7 million in additional gas charges “between” rate cases. Continue reading
Jake Kreshtool passed on April 11th at the age of 98. I just found about this via a call from a relative. Jake was my mentor in environmental activism and other aspects of life. So much to be said about him… labor lawyer, civil liberties activist, naval officer (WW2 vet), longtime head of Delaware Citizens for Clean Air, Democratic candidate for Governor of Delaware, filed the first-ever citizens suit under the Clean Air Act…..
Jake was the dean of Delaware environmentalists and probably the last standing member of the group, the generation, that lead the fight for the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. He was a longtime supporter of Green Delaware, member of our Steering Committee, generator of creative ideas for getting the message across…..
Jake once ended a speech at the Delaware Nature Society–not my favorite organization–with this, said loudly: “NEVER BE REASONABLE.” He knew what he was talking about.
The last time I talked to Jake, a few months ago, he’d bought a bicycle and was considering buying a car.
I’ll write more about Jake when I can get my thoughts and emotions together.
“services will be 12:30 pm, Friday, April 21, 2017 in the Chapel at the Jewish Community Cemetery, 401 Foulk Road, Wilmington, DE 19803. Shiva will be observed approximately 2:30 pm, Friday, April 21 at Adas Kodesch Shel Emeth Synagogue, 4412 Washington Boulevard, Wilmington, DE 19802.”
Below is the obit published in the Wilmington News Journal this morning, April 20, 2017: Continue reading
This commentary on recently retired DNREC Secretary David Small appeared on April 6, 2017 in the Delaware State News. Please post your own thoughts on Dave Small, and what should be expected from his successor, Shawn Garvin.
The March 26 profile of former DNREC official Dave Small [“From reporter to environmental chief”] presented one side. Small has had an impact on Delaware, as does any DNREC secretary, and it makes sense to try to understand what that has been. I was involved with Small from an environmental advocacy perspective since the early 1990s. Continue reading
The Markell administration supposedly left Delaware with a “structural” budget deficit approaching $400 million/year. This does not seem surprising because Markell was essentially a Republican, and Republicans leave behind big deficits due to their habits of reducing taxes on those well able to pay them, while engineering big giveaways to the over-priviledged.
Governor John Carney has proposed a combination of spending cuts, and tax increases. The income tax increases are even across the board. Rep. John Kowalko has proposed–various times over the years, actually–to establish two new tax brackets for higher-income residents:
- Those making more than $125,000 would pay 7.1 percent instead of 6.6 percent.
- Those making more than $250,000 would pay 7.85 percent instead of 6.6 percent.
Right now the tax brackets top out at 6.6 percent at $60,000.) Flat tax rates are inherently regressive. Continue reading
Gov. Carney promises attack on the Delaware Coastal Zone Act
Nine years ago two people were contending for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Delaware. (Then, as since, it was presumed that the Republican candidate would not be competitive, such that the Democratic nomination likely meant the governorship.) The two Democratic contenders were John Carney, a long-time party warhorse, and Jack Markell, state Treasurer but essentially an interloper in Delaware’s closed politics.
At the very end of 2016, Green Delaware reported on a major nuclear power industry scandal. See the link for the whole story, but to recap briefly: Areva/Le Creusot Forge, a major supplier of nuclear plant parts–big, vital parts, such as steam generators and reactor vessels–was found to be using defective manufacturing methods and falsifying paperwork. The factory has been closed down by the French Nuclear Safety Authority.
There are only a few places in the world that can forge the huge steel parts several inches thick that contain the nuclear power genie. AREVA/Le Creusot is one of these, and it has had many orders from the US. The essence of the metallurgical problem is that the parts could contain excessive amounts of carbon which could lead to cracking of the steel and let the nuclear genie out of the bottle.
French regulators have taken this seriously and a number of French reactors have been shut down for thorough inspection. Defects have been found. In the US, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the agency that regulates the nuclear industry–and many feel is actually part of the nuclear industry–seems to be taking the problems less seriously. Continue reading
The first 100 days of a new administration are crucial
Confirmation hearings and votes are in progress. Every single one of Trump’s cabinet nominees is bad. Call the offices of Senators Carper and Coons, asking them to do everything possible to oppose Trump’s nominations.
Especially, oppose the nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt. Even Sen. Tom Carper, no friend of the environment, has been critical of Pruitt.
Carper state director, Lori James: (302) 573-6291
(Sen. Carper has offices in DC, Wilmington, Dover, and Georgetown. Consider visiting in person.)
Coons state director, Jim Paoli: (302) 573-6345
(Sen. Coons has offices in DC, Wilmington, and Dover. Consider visiting in person.)
Today: Inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Surely one of the most disturbing, most shameful, most frightening, events in this country in my lifetime.
We can’t react appropriately without seeking to understand the rood causes of this disaster.
A blogger I respect, Erik Hare, recently wrote “…. As we prepare to inaugurate our nation’s second genuine psychopathic president, Andrew Jackson being the first ….” Many people feel Trump’s behavior is associated with recognized types of mental illness. At the least, he seems narcissistic and lacking in impulse control. Or is it all just a reality show? Continue reading
The Salem I and II reactors on Artificial Island. The shiny cylinders look like spent nuclear fuel (waste) casks.
Areva SA, a French vendor of nuclear power plant equipment–one of the largest and most prominent in the world–has been found to be producing defective items–really major items!– and falsifying quality control paperwork. This means that reactors may be running in dangerously unsafe condition. French regulators appear to be acting, but US regulators are not. Continue reading