Letter of opposition to House Bill 270

This is a bill purporting to be about cleanup of Delaware’s polluted waters.  We aren’t convinced that the bill is good enough to justify support.  We sent this letter to the sponsors and the members of the House Natural Resources Committee.  Subsequently, the bill was tabled in committee.

A couple of years ago the “Delaware Nature Society” hired a real estate guy to promote a previous version of the bill.  (He didn’t return our calls.)

March 27, 2018

TO:  Michael.Mulrooney@state.de.us, Debra.Heffernan@state.de.us, Quinton.Johnson@state.de.us, David.Bentz@state.de.us, John.Kowalko@state.de.us, Trey.Paradee@state.de.us, Gerald.Brady@state.de.us, Ronald.Gray@state.de.us, Richard.G.Collins@state.de.us, Charles.Postles@state.de.us, William.Carson@state.de.us

Copy:  David.Sokola@state.de.us, Paul.Baumbach@state.de.us, Deborah.Hudson@state.de.us, Valerie.Longhurst@state.de.us, Sean.Lynn@state.de.us, Edward.Osienski@state.de.us, Peter.Schwartzkopf@state.de.us,

Dear legislators:

We have been following HB 270 and its predecessors. Delaware obviously has an urgent need to improve the quality of its waters–drinking waters, surface waters and groundwaters. But HB270 has too many problems to deserve passage in its present form. Some of these:

o The proposed revenue generation is regressive, the costs would unjustly fall on the general population rather than those entities causing the water pollution.

o We have little confidence that meaningful public participation in the allocation of resources would occur, because it doesn’t happen now, and the same mechanisms would be used.

o Historically, Delaware has tended to use “clean water” funds to install sewers in rural areas, subsidizing additional sprawl development, rather than to clean up existing problems such as the gross pollution of the Christina and Brandywine Rivers by the City of Wilmington.

o Delaware’s water quality problems will not be abated until the “dots are connected” between regulatory programs. This means NOT allowing pollution from past and present agricultural and industrial activities which then has to be cleaned up by water treatment facilities.

o More attention need to be focused on health hazards from private wells that are now mostly untested and unregulated.

We hope that during this session the General Assembly will be open to developing and passing improved legislation addressing these and other issues.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

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