Death Penalty Repeal making progress in Delaware

Senate Bill 40, repealing Delaware’s death penalty, has passed the Delaware Senate.  The vote was narrow: 11-9.  A similar bill passed the Senate in 2013 but was blocked in the House of Representatives.  This could happen again.  Please consider urging your Representative to support SB 40Contact information is here. The ACLU also has a link for sending emails.

The death penalty has come and gone in Delaware. Legislators reinstated it in 1974 after an unpleasant crime.  Some history here. More info from the ACLU.  Sen. Karen Peterson has championed the cause of repeal for many years, with support from Republican Gary Simpson.

“Union Pacific aims to be first railroad to haul liquefied natural gas”

Comments: 

Note the secrecy here, from both the Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration (more a servant of than a regulator of the industry).

In the course of fighting a proposal for an LNG terminal in Logan Township, New Jersey, we learned a lot about the hazards of LNG. Readers will recall that the oil and gas people were saying that massive imports of LNG were essential. Now, of course, they are saying that exports of LNG are essential. The federal government, of course, is disposed to do what the oilers and gassers want.

The Union Pacific does not operate on the East Coast, but could this be a foot-in-the-door for trains even more dangerous than the oil (bomb) trains?

am Continue reading

Rep. Osienski, Sen. McBride step up on bomb trains

Flames erupt from the scene of a crude-oil train derailment Feb. 16 near Timmins, in Ontario, Canada. (Transportation Safety Board of Canada)

Rep. Ed Osienski and Sen. Dave McBride developed a letter to Rep. John Carney asking the US Congress to take meaningful action on oil (“bomb”) trains.  This letter was signed by 30 Delaware state senators and representatives.

Here’s the letter. Continue reading

Delaware’s worst environmental scandal? Unpublic Hearing March 24th.

[Update:  We have since learned that the Hearing Officer has agreed to keep the public comment period open until April 24th, at the request of Delaware Audubon and Delaware Sierra.]

Reject Jack Markell’s latest dirty deal with the Delaware City Refinery.

After 58 years of river/bay destruction, the time for cooling towers is NOW.

On Tuesday, March 24th, at six pm, at Gunning Bedford Middle School, 801 Cox Neck Road (West of Delaware City)  the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is holding one of its mostly bogus “public hearings” on a water permit for the Delaware City Refinery.  The subject is a “draft permit” to allow the refinery to keep polluting the Delaware River and vacuuming the marine life out of it.  The permit also has implications for air quality because shortages of cooling water have lead to some of the largest “upsets” at the refinery. Continue reading

The bad state of Delaware’s air

This information comes mainly from the EPA Airnow website:

December 2014 16 days Code Yellow, 1 day Code Orange

January 2015 16 days Code Yellow, 1 day Code Orange

February 2015 19 days Code Yellow

March 2015 12 days Code Yellow, 1 day Code Orange (up to March15th)

The forecast for March 17, 2015, is Code Yellow.  As of now, the forecast for the 18th and 19th are Code Green. Continue reading

Russ Peterson, the Delaware Coastal Zone Act, and leadership in Delaware

Delaware’s a mess. The water is rising. We are a major destination for bomb trains. One of the most leaky and dangerous nuke power complexes threatens and pollutes the state and is trying to expand with new reactors. The air and water are polluted. The economy is stagnant and the political system corrupt. The public schools are under attack. The court system is openly dedicated to protecting corporate crime. A tale of woe, to be sure. Continue reading

“What are we doing to our children’s brains?”

“Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime”

In November, election results put many anti-health, anti-environmental activists into public office.  Did this happen because millions of people said to themselves “I have too much money … we need more pollution and disease … corporations and banks are being oppressed by the people …?”  I doubt it, but the effect is the same. Continue reading

Delmarva Power to rebuild transmission in DE

DelawareXmsnMapDelaware’s a small state, and it’s just the wrong shape for getting a good transmission map.  Click the above one for a larger view, but it’s still hard to see.  But check it out!  Take a look at that black line, stretching from Red Lion down to Milford.  That’s the 230 kV line that Delmarva Power wants to rebuild.  If they play this as I think they will (please prove me wrong), they could use this “rebuild” to significantly increase transfer capacity, which given the withdrawal of the Mid-Alantic Power Pathway (MAPP) transmission project, that’s something to watch for.

Public meeting about transmission line rebuild

7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015

Odessa Fire Company

304 Main St., Odessa, Delaware

Hosted by Delmarva Power

Carol Overland here with a post on transmission — I’m the transmission wonk, and info on this appeared in the inbox today.  Why is rebuild of a transmission line a concern?  I’m on alert because there’s essentially no regulation of transmission in Delaware, a fact that’s hard to believe given the impacts and power associated with transmission.  This project is intended to go right down an existing easement, but the original line was built 50 years ago, and there’s been a lot of development in Delaware since then.  Look at the map, and there’s a lot of development right next to this transmission line.  Do you think these folks know anything about this transmission plan?  Do you think anyone along that easement is getting direct notice about this???

At first glance, a couple of things occur to me.

  • Rebuild?  As always, I want to know the details.  they say it will still be at 230 kV.  Let’s have the conductor specs, particularly.  How big a conductor are they using, ACSR or ACSS or higher capacity?  Will they be rebuild as a single or double circuit, and will it be bundled or not?  Here’s the photo of the line, photo from Snooze Urinal, and it’s as it looks to me from driving under it numerous times on the way to/fro Port Penn:

Line - News JournalPhoto from The News Journal, delawareonline.com

  • Use of existing easement or extending beyond?  In their press release, there’s something disturbing about how they say they’re going to build this thing:

The replacement transmission line will be built along the eastern border of the existing right-of-way so that service will not be affected during construction. The original transmission line will be removed once the entire project is completed.

So looking at this photo above, it’s facing north, the H-frames are on the east side, the monopole on the west, and the News Journal report says:

The project will take place in the current line’s right of way, so no property purchases will be required, Tedesco added.

How is that possible?  The H-frames have been there a long time, and rather recently they added the monopole next to it.  Now now this will be “built along the eastern border of the existing right-of-way.”  EH?  Here’s an example, at the intersection of Port Penn Rd. and the line, the “east” is on right on this photo/map (click photo for larger version):

Port Penn Rd_HouseThis is what it looks like at the road, looking down the easement with home on the left:

668 Port Penn RdAnd here’s another example, at the intersection of Pole Bridge Rd. and the transmission lines, also on the way to/fro Port Penn, note the new subdivision roads, Waterbird Lane and Marsh Hawk Court:

Pole Bridge_WaterbirdLn&MarshHawkCtHere’s another at 955 Vance Neck Rd (the road is just to the south):

955 Vance Neck Rd2Let’s keep going further south along the easement.  Here are homes along Old Corbett Rd. near the intersection of Hwy. 9 — note it’s turned around to fit better, the “easterly” direction they’ll build into is the area towards the homes:

Old Corbett RdHere’s another subdivision on the other side of Hwy. 9, and the homes along Middessa Drive:

MiddessaDr@9Just a little further south, where the line turns southwesterly, the line is abutted by the homes on Mailly Drive and Corbit Sharp Drive:

MaillyDrCorbitSharpDrHere’s what that easement looks like — build this new thing on the easterly border of the easement?  I think not!

Corbit Sharp Drive easementAnd this northern Red Lion to Milford section of the transmission “rebuild” terminates at the Cedar Creek substation, technically in Townsend:

CedarCreekSubstationAgain, do you think these folks know anything about this transmission plan?  Do you think anyone along that easement is getting direct notice about this???

Here’s Delmarva’s Press Release:

Press Release 12/23/2014 – Delmarva Power Project to Benefit Delaware

Here’s the report from the News Journal:

Delmarva to brief public on transmission line rehab

The electrical spine of Delaware is set for a $70 million rehabilitation.

This summer, Delmarva Power will begin replacing its transmission line running from the substation in Red Lion 58 miles south to the Milford substation in Sussex County.

The utility will host a public meeting to brief the community on the project on Wednesday in Odessa.

Transmission lines serve as electrical highways carrying power from generation plants to substations before the electricity flows to homes through local lines.

The bulk of this particular project will involve removing the towering H-frame double wood poles that currently support the line. Those poles will be replaced with single steel poles towering up to 140 feet above the landscape.

The new supports will be able to withstand 100 mph winds and will replace infrastructure that was built more than half a century ago. The new line will carry the same voltage, some 230,000 volts, as the old line.

The rehabilitation will not effect customer’s power supply. Though requirements of road crossing permits are not final, the company does not expect the project will necessitate any road closings, according to Frank Tedesco, spokesman for Delmarva.

The project will take place in the current line’s right of way, so no property purchases will be required, Tedesco added.

The company will seek leasing agreements with individual property owners for space temporarily needed for construction.

“This project will strengthen our system and ensure that we can continue to meet our customers’ energy need,” Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power region president, said in a written statement.

The company noted the rehabilitation will ensure it meets reliability standards set by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation.

The project will be divided into two phases, the first stretching 15 miles between Red Lion and Cedar Creek. That phase will begin later this year with the second beginning in summer 2016.

Contact Staff Writer Xerxes Wilson at (302) 324-2787 or xwilson@delawareonline.com.

 For more information:

Delmarva Power will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, at the Odessa Fire Company, 304 Main St. in Odessa.

 

“U.S. taxpayers help fund oil-train boom amid safety concerns”

http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/u-s-taxpayers-help-fund-oil-train-boom-amid-safety/article_cd09f5c9-9c34-505b-a5dc-3abca7d069ce.html

As a follow up to the bridge story, see this piece from Reuters.  For the most part, of course, the oil train traffic in Delaware results from the reopening of the Delaware City Refinery.  (There might be some through traffic regardless.)  Norfolk Southern, major rail presence in Delaware, sued the State of Maryland to prevent release of oil train information.  Delaware, in any case, is one of a few states refusing to provide information to the public.

Can anyone think that, when the refinery-reopening scam went down with zero public participation, the full range of harmful effects were considered?  Obviously not….