“Polluted by Money”


“How corporate cash corrupted one of the greenest states in America”

This comes from Oregon, but seems to apply sadly well to Delaware. Read it.

Delaware is in critical condition. The Coastal Zone Act effectively repealed/not enforced. Little visible environmental advocacy. A Governor who plainly doesn’t care. The lowest lying state, likely to be largely under water. High levels of poverty and violence.

When I got involved in environmental politics in the 1990s it didn’t seem that advocacy was adequate and effective. Thus Green Delaware. A lot has been accomplished, but, obviously, not nearly enough. Harassment eventually drove me out of the state. Other organizations seem to be fading away. Active people don’t usually stay in Delaware. There isn’t a support system.

The mean elevation of Delaware is 60 feet. Florida and Louisiana are 100 feet. The sea has risen about three inches in the last twenty-five years, about one-eighth inch per year. (Sea level rise varies from place to place for various reasons.) The rate of rise is certain to increase but nobody really knows exactly what will happen. Could Delaware be fenced off from the seas with billions of dollars worth of dikes and seawalls? How would that be paid for? For some more discussion of sea level rise see this.

Could Delaware do better? Could we get the dirty money out of politics? Could we elect more intelligent and thoughtful decision-makers? Could we improve education and health care? Sure we could. But with such a corrupt political system, will we?

Are there any real solutions to global warming and sea level rise? That’s another question.

“Sunday and Monday are Code Orange bad air days in Delaware.” Plus, the Delaware City Refinery is Belching…..


Below is the official wording from the DNREC. 

First, Green Delaware’s take:

Code Orange bad air is unusual in Delaware in wintertime but does happen.  Pollution sources can be as nearby as a neighbor’s wood stove or as far away as a forest fire in Canada or even a dust storm in Mongolia.  Actual ground level concentrations depend greatly on weather conditions.  “Inversions” can hold pollutants down near ground level.

It appears that we are looking at some Code Yellow days following the Code Orange days.

Plus, the timing of a big fire at the Delaware City Refinery is poor.  This sort of event isn’t factored into air pollution forecasts but will increase pollutant levels in New Castle County and also in Salem County, NJ.  In addition to the elevated particle concentrations, the refinery fire, in the “crude unit,” will have released large amounts of nasty sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide.  Many people may experience discomfort or worse in the next few days.

Here is a decent story in The News Journal:


And here is some video footage, from which you can get a sense  of the amounts of smoke. https://www.facebook.com/boulden/videos/10218208519345767/

It appears to us that most Delaware officials are far too servile to the refinery to have anything meaningful to say.

Usually, when there is a fire or explosion or other “upset” in one major unit at the refinery, other operations are also disrupted and begin to belch pollutants.   The crude unit is near the beginning of the processing operations so it is hard to be sure what the downstream impacts are.  We are told the refinery is still operating.  There has been flaring.  We also understand the fire was caused by piping failures, which would usually indicate neglect of maintenance.

Of course, air quality forecasting, like weather forecasting, has greatly improved but remains an inexact business.  Actual conditions can turn out better or worse than forecast.


Sunday and Monday are Code Orange bad air days in Delaware.

Sunday, February 3, is forecast to be Code Orange for particulate concentrations in Delaware!

 Particle concentrations rose much faster than expected on Saturday morning, due to an extremely strong surface inversion enhanced by Friday’s snowfall. As of 2 PM Saturday, hourly particle concentrations are dropping in response to increasing surface winds and a break in the strong temperature inversion at the surface. Daily average particle concentrations will end up in the upper Moderate for Saturday, however, which is much higher than normal for this time of year. **Sunday’s Forecast: Sunday’s weather conditions are expected to be extremely stagnant. Surface winds will be calm all day. Another very strong morning surface inversion will form, but the difference from Saturday is that this inversion is not forecasted to break in the afternoon. As a result, atmospheric mixing will be minimal for the entire day. Given how quickly particles rose on Saturday, in conjunction with the very stagnant forecast, particle concentrations will reach the Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) range on Sunday.

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.

 Monday, February 4, is forecast to be Code Orange for particulate concentrations in Delaware!

 Monday is an Air Quality Action Day for the State of Delaware for Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) fine particles! The state is in the midst of an uncommon, but not unprecedented, wintertime poor air quality event. High pressure over the Mid-Atlantic region and warm air arriving aloft has promoted high particle concentrations all along the I-95 Corridor over the weekend, including across Delaware. Very stagnant weather conditions will persist on Monday. Surface winds will be calm, and an extremely strong surface inversion will inhibit vertical mixing. Given these factors in conjunction with the increase in local pollutant emissions on Monday due to weekday traffic, a second consecutive day of Code Orange air quality is expected.

**Extended Forecast: A weak cold front will move through the forecast area on Tuesday afternoon. Particle concentrations will drop into the Moderate range in response to breezy northwesterly winds and enhanced vertical mixing in the late afternoon and evening. Tuesday’s cold front will move back northward on Wednesday as a warm front, bringing clouds and a chance for rain in the late afternoon to evening. Moderate particle concentrations will continue.

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


Vote Vote Vote…..

I don’t know the author of this, it’s via Susie Brandt, a friend in Delaware:


Final message on voting day! First of all go out and vote! Also when you’re voting keep in mind those who are less fortunate than you or different than you. So for me:
I’m middle class I keep in mind the poor.
I’m an adult I keep in mind children.
I’m a man I keep in mind women.
I’m white I keep in mind people of different skin color.
I’m straight I keep in mind LGBT folks.
I’m human I keep in mind animals.
I’m American I keep in mind people in all parts of the world.
Vote for the candidate who will do the greatest amount of good in the world. We all do better when we all do better.
Go Vote

I’m no longer a Delaware resident–just too much harassment–and voting this morning in Minnesota reminded me of how much better it can be done:

If you are registered, no oppressive requirements for ID.  Give your name, sign the paper, get your paper ballot.  Fill in the circles, put it in the machine which scans it and keeps it as a paper backup.  If there is a problem you can get a new ballot and start over.

If you are not registered, you can do so on the spot with some basic ID such as utility bills.

Before going to vote, you can print out an exact sample ballot from the Secretary of State’s office.

And “Every employee who is eligible to vote in an election has the right to be absent from work for the time necessary to appear at the employee’s polling place, cast a ballot, and return to work on the day of that election, without penalty or deduction from salary or wages because of the absence.”   ( see details here.)

(It’s not that the Republicans aren’t into “voter suppression” in Minnesota; they just haven’t been able to get away with it.  Likewise, they haven’t been able so show any significant about of “voter fraud.”)

Now, compare this with Delaware:  Must register 24 days in advance (Deadline was October 13th), no paper ballots (must trust the machine) and so on.  (Supposedly, new machines withe paper backup are to be ordered.)

And, by the way, people get to vote on retaining judges in Minnesota.  Initial appointments are made by the governor.  Could this be better than the Chamber of Commerce and the corporate bar telling the Governor of Delaware whom to appoint?

Regardless, if you haven’t voted and you are registered, GO AND VOTE.  If you aren’t registered, work for same-day registration before the next election cycle.

And please vote against any candidate even remotely supportive of trump.

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

Carper isn’t forever. Vote for Kerri Harris

First, some basic info if you aren’t used to voting in Delaware.

Delaware’s 2018 Primary Election is Thursday, September 6, 2018.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A polling place locator and other information is here:  https://elections.delaware.gov/voter_tools.shtml

The candidates running in a primary are listed here:  https://elections.delaware.gov/reports/prim_fcddt.shtml
Continue reading

Rep. John Kowalko’s endorsement of Chris Johnson for Attorney General of Delaware

Over the past few years I’ve found the Delaware DOJ to be unable or unwilling to enforce transparency and FOIA obligations of some state agencies including the executive branch. This unwillingness to investigate or take action in a number of cases even extended to a refusal to conduct a review of the DOJ itself in a critical matter of misappropriation of public funds requested by two state legislators. I discussed these discomforting actions with AG primary candidate Chris Johnson at some length. I evaluated his plans and policy proposals at length and concluded that he was the type of candidate I could endorse. When Mr. Johnson honored my request for a statement of his intentions in dealing with and enforcing good, transparent government and compliance with standards that would reassure the public he sent the following statement to me. Continue reading

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Of voting machines and democracy

[Originally Published in the Delaware State News September 4th, 2018.]

Jennifer Hill, on Aug. 21, makes a compelling case for transparency in the purchase of new voting systems for Delaware. (“Transparency sought in voting machine purpose”)

It’s sadly true that transparency is seldom a prominent feature of Delaware government. “The Delaware Way” tends to closed-door dealmaking and incestuous relationships with vendors. Continue reading

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

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?


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.

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,


Alan Muller
Executive Director, Green Delaware