Category Archives: energy

DNREC “listening session” on the EPA “Clean Power Plan”–Nov 5, 2014, in Dover, DE

The official notice is below.

Green Delaware Comments:

The “Clean Power Plan,” formally two proposals released in June by the EPA for public comment, is extremely complicated and hard to fully understand.  So much so that regulatory agencies, advocacy orgs, and others who have studied it at great length are not entirely sure what it all means. States have a great deal of flexibility in complying with the proposed requirements, whatever they turn out to be. Continue reading

Details on oil trains running through Minnesota on their way to Delaware and other places

The linked reports were provided to the State of Minnesota pursuant to an order from the US Department of Transportation.   The state was very reluctant to release the info but eventually did under pressure.  Newspaper articleMinnesota crossed by 50 oil trains a week.”

Notice how VERY anxious the railroads seem to prevent this information from being released to the public. Continue reading

Good News: “The Data Center” (power plant) apparently dead

Gas attack: U of Delaware kills $1 billion data center/power plant.”

“The Data Center” was a scam so blatant, so absurd, that it should never have gotten any traction at all.

That it did is a sad commentary on the intellectual and ethical emptiness of Delaware’s “Chamber of Commerce” business community, and, of course, the administration of Gov. Jack Markell.  The so called “Delaware Economic Development Office,”especially, demonstrates a consistent and predictable idiocy backed up by secrecy and dishonesty.

Per usual in Delaware, the scam was assembled by various parties, including the Markell administration, the University of Delaware, and the City of Newark, before the public was given notice.  Then, it was rolled out as a done deal.  Thankfully, it apparently has been undone.  (Note that the objection is mostly to the power plant, not to a data center as such.)

Aside from the obvious lie of saying a 278 megawatt gas-burning power plant was “auxiliary” to a data center, consider the un wisdom, or the symbolism, of a large new fossil-fuel power plant in a state so vulnerable to the effects of climate change that much of it will soon enough be under water.

Delaware has the lowest mean elevation of any state at 60 ft above sea level.   (Florida and Louisiana are next at 100 ft.)  The mean elevation of Kent County is only 36 feet.  Current measured sea level rise is around 3.4 mm per year and speeding up–it varies from place to place–and almost every new official prediction of sea level rise is higher than the last one.  See Waters rising … Delaware going away?”

It is long past time to be shutting down the the existing combustion power plants that drive climate change and sea level rise, far less a time to be building new ones.  (The total generating capacity in Delaware is on the order of 3300 megawatts.)

In the face of this, Markell has allowed investment in wind, solar, and energy efficiency to mostly come to a stop–suiting the interests of Delmarva Power–while embracing various schemes for burning more natural gas.

(All considered, it appears that the climate change impact of natural gas is at least as high as coal, because of the unburned methane emissions.)

Residents of the City of Newark, and faculty and students of the University of Delaware, came to life to oppose a scam in which the City and the administration of the U of D were deeply involved.  In recent decades it has been rare to see signs of political life in Newark, but self-interest does have an energizing effect.  See Newark Residents Against the Power Plant.

The Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club (especially Amy Roe) and the Delaware Audubon Society contributed.

But the real hero of this fight, in my opinion, is Rep. John Kowalko of Newark.  Kowalko relentlessly sought accurate information from various parties so he could represent the true interests of his constituents.  It doesn’t take a lot of courage for professors or environmentalists to oppose a power plant, but Kowalko, a longtime union person, took a lot of heat from any-job-at-any-cost Delaware union officials.

Kowalko, as he usually does, behaved with gumption, integrity, and right-on values.   Consider the oath of office that Delaware’s Constitution prescribes for public officials:

“I, (name) , do proudly swear (or affirm) to carry out the responsibilities of the office of

(name of office) to the best of my ability, freely acknowledging that the powers of this office flow from the people I am privileged to represent. I further swear (or affirm) always to place the public interests above any special or personal interests, and to respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware. In doing so I will always uphold and defend the Constitutions of my Country and my State, so help me God.”  [emphasis added by Muller]

How many legislators take their oath seriously?  John Kowalko is one who clearly does.  (I don’t know what role has been played by Senators representing the area.)

Compare the “Data Center” fight with the fight of people around Millsboro against a giant Korean chicken-killing plant, another Markell project just as absurd and undesirable.  See “ Just how disgusting can the Markell administration get? Is there any bottom?”  That area is represented by Gerald W. Hocker and John C. Atkins, two of the most special-interest-serving legislators in Delaware.  (Atkins has been in the news recently –but not for helping his constituents!–, and Green Delaware has featured him before.)

Friday and Saturday are forecast to be Code Yellow bad air days in Delaware for ozone.  Saturday is also Code Yellow for particles.  Some discussion of the meaning of this is here.

Urgent Action Alert: Preserve public access to the “Public Service Commission”

Most people know that Delmarva Power and other utilities are reaching deeper and deeper into our pockets with less and less justification.  Heat and electricity are becoming less and less affordable, though wholesale costs are low.  Of course, the main goal of the management of Delmarva Power is to maximize profits for stockholders.

Standing against this are Representatives John Kowalko and Ed Osienski. Continue reading

Black Hat Jack is at it again….this time it’s keeping the “public” out of the “Public Service Commission”

Delaware’s so-called “Public Advocate,” Dave Bonar, is seeking to keep Reps. John Kowalko and Edward Osienski from “intervening” in an important Delmarva Power ripoff “docket” now happening in the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC).

Green Delaware’s comments to the PSC on this are here.

So what’s really going on?  Utility regulatory matters aren’t always easy to understand and a little background may help. Continue reading

“The Data Center,” part #1

[The emailed version of this had typos.  Corrections and a few minor editorial changes made here.]

All sorts of schemes and scams pop up everywhere.  Some fly, some don’t.  Some make sense, some don’t.

Over the years, a long list of schemes and projects have engaged the attention of Green Delaware and other advocacy orgs.  Indeed, one of our key functions is to analyze proposals and share our opinions. Continue reading

Carper, Coons, betray Delaware yet again — vote for tar sands oil pipeline

ACTION: Call Coons and Carper.  Email their staffers.  Sign the petition.  But do something!

Two of the worst Democratic senators in the US Senate are from Delaware:  Chris Coons and Tom Carper.  These two are what have been called “Democrats in Name Only” (DINOs) in the sense that they almost always vote for fat-cat interests and betray the public interest.

On March 22, 2013, Coons and Carper disgraced themselves and mocked the interests of Delaware by joining 15 other “Democratic” senators in voting to support the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline. Continue reading

Beach residents voice concerns

http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20100401/NEWS01/4010354

By Alex Ruoff • Staff Writer • April 1, 2010

BETHANY BEACH — Alan Muller is worried the federal government’s decision to open mid-Atlantic offshore waters to oil and gas exploration could negatively impact the quality of life for those who live along the Maryland and Delaware coast.

"Just look at the (Gulf of Mexico), where there’s a lot of oil production; it’s a mess," said Muller, a spokesman for Green Delaware, a Wilmington-based public health organization. "I think it’s something that needs to be looked at closely so you can see all the impacts it could have."

The move, announced by the Obama administration Wednesday, ends a long-standing moratorium on the search for gas and oil along the nation’s eastern seaboard, where researchers say production is possible, but narrow.

"Anything that goes up would have to be 50-100 miles off the coast and, as far as development goes, production there is limited," said Robert Diaz, a marine science professor at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., who held a conference on the subject in December 2008.

According to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the federal agency responsible for managing oil and gas resources along the nation’s outer continental shelf, the mid-Atlantic region contains roughly 130 million barrels of oil and 1.14 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Using 2009 standards, the nation consumes about 20 million barrels of oil and 60 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily.

Diaz said the impact on the region would be minimal, but felt mainly from transportation of materials and resources, not testing or production.

"If the boats are going to the Chesapeake Bay, then you’ll see it there. … Likewise, if they come down the Delaware Bay, they’ll feel the impact," he said. "That’s what you’ll see from the shore."

Al McMillian, a Frederick resident, said he regularly visits Ocean City to fish and escape the kind of water traffic seen in commercial-heavy areas of the Chesapeake Bay.

"The big boats are why I think most people come to this part of the beach," he said. "You don’t really see them as much as you would on the bay."

The announcement spurred promotion of alternative energy sources from environmental agencies like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and elected officials. Delaware Sen. Ted Kaufman said the country should look toward alternative energy sources rather than fossil fuels to alleviate its dependence on foreign oil, which contributes to more than 97 percent of total production worldwide.

"Here in Delaware, we are pushing forward on the nation’s first offshore wind project," he said. "We believe that our oceans offer the promise of clean, renewable energy that will create jobs, cut our greenhouse gas emissions and move us toward energy independence."

aruoff@dmg.gannett.com

302-537-1881, ext. 201