Sunday, August 4, 2019

Townsend Guts Coastal Zone Protections

Coastal Zone Act bill is a betrayal to Peterson’s intent
Note: With Democrats like Townsend, who needs Republicans? Bill signing HERE.

Originally posted in Delaware State News, May 21, 2017 | Rep. Ed Osienski and Sen. Bryan Townsend have introduced a bill (HB 190) that guts the Coastal Zone Act by re-industrializing some of Delaware’s most contaminated land and allowing new bulk product transfer operations where they never previously existed.

Established in 1971 under Republican Gov. Russell Peterson, the Coastal Zone Act has controlled the location, extent and type of industrial development in Delaware’s coastal areas to protect the natural environment for recreation and tourism. Manufacturing is allowed in the Coastal Zone (with a permit), but new heavy industrial development and bulk product transfer facilities were prohibited.

If passed, the bill would allow new heavy industry and bulk product transfer in targeted areas. Heavy industry, and its associated air and water pollution, is the most harmful and dangerous form of development. The areas that would be opened to new heavy industry including those near homes, schools and critical habitat zones.

The Coastal Zone Act prohibits bulk product transfer because of the pressure it places on the Coastal Zone. The language of the prohibition is eliminated by this bill and replaced with a new procedure that allows bulk product transfer operations where docks existed in 1971.

  • “During an era when protecting clean water is a priority for Sen. Townsend, he places the integrity of the Delaware River and its tributaries at risk. He is essentially fouling the Delaware Estuary with this bill, thinking somehow that financial guarantees and offsets could mitigate the loss of critical habitat for birds and the ecosystem they rely on to survive.” — Mark Martell, Conservation Chair of Delaware Audubon Society
  • “Russ Peterson warned us that once he died, lawmakers would start hacking away at the Coastal Zone Act. If he were alive today, would Sen. Townsend and Rep. Osienski be able to look him in the eye and argue their positions? It is only since Russ has passed that these legislators have decided to betray him.” — Matt DelPizzo, President of Delaware Audubon Society
  • “HB 190 does not ‘modernize’ the Coastal Zone Act. Instead, it significantly weakens core protections in the Act in the unsubstantiated hope that backwards-looking options like heavy industry will somehow provide an economic boost to Delaware. [Full Article . . . ]
As expected, HB-190 was signed into law by Democrat Governor John Carney.

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