Protecting your Water Quality
Everyone in Delaware deserves to have clean water, yet we have significant challenges in our state. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control recently published a Watershed Assessment that outlines numerous threats to our water quality including: 1) stormwater runoff and drainage problems; 2) impaired waterways; 3) polluted rivers and streams; and 4) drinking water contamination. These critical issues are exacerbated by climate change and rising sea levels and must be addressed now!
The Delaware Sierra Club is a member of the Clean Water Alliance ("Alliance"), which is a broad-based coalition of non-profit and educational organizations, and stakeholders across the state working together to secure dedicated funding for clean water initiatives. The Alliance is conducting an educational campaign about the importance of clean water. Working together, we will support state legislation to improve water quality including funding. Dedicated funding for clean water is essential to providing a sustainable future that includes safe drinking water, healthier crops and food sources, a vibrant economy and increased tourism. Clean water funding should be used for upgrades to wastewater treatment facilities and stormwater systems; environmentally sound solutions to remove contaminants from our waterways, streams and rivers; and protection of our coast, wetlands and open space. We will need significant financial commitments from the State Legislature and the Governor to improve our water quality.
We plan to work with our Governor, state legislature, policy makers, and partners and allies in the Clean Water Alliance to address these threats through a combination of state and federal funding and regulations. A key priority of the Alliance partners was the passage of a Clean Water bill with a dedicated source of funding. Unfortunately, the bill that passed did not include a dedicated funding source, but did align with all other Alliance priorities. Read more about the legislation that passed and the Alliance here.
In addition to our water quality challenges at the State level, the Delaware Chapter worked in collaboration with numerous partners to fight to ban off-shore drilling off the Atlantic coast, and fracking for natural gas. We will continue to advocate to protect our drinking water supplies, defend our coastal life, manage stormwater, safeguard our wetlands, sustain our wildlife, and provide outdoor recreation. We encourage you to join our team.
The Trump administration proposed seismic airgun surveys and off-shore drilling off our coasts. Governor John Carney joined a group of bipartisan governors in late December 2018, urging Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to halt harmful seismic testing and offshore drilling proposed by the Trump administration in the Atlantic Ocean. “As the governors of ten states on the Atlantic seaboard, we write to reiterate our strong opposition to seismic airgun surveys and oil and gas drilling off our coasts,” the governors wrote. “These activities pose an unacceptable and unnecessary threat to our coastal ecosystems and coastal economies.” The letter was signed by the following governors: Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Governor John Carney of Delaware; Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland; Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia; and Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. To see the full press release, click here: No offshore drilling in Delaware.
Fracking for Natural Gas
The Delaware River Basin Commission ("DRBC" or "Commission") is a regional interstate and federal agency formed by concurrent compact legislation of the four basin states and the federal government in 1961 to manage the water resources of the Delaware River Basin without regard to political boundaries. Ex officio members include the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government. The Commission has proposed amendments to its regulations and comprehensive plan to better provide for the planning, conservation, utilization, development, management and control of the basin’s water resources in connection with the hydraulic fracturing of shale and other hydrocarbon bearing formations to produce oil and gas.
Over the past 50 years, the Commission has established in-stream water quality standards throughout the basin, prohibited degradation of groundwater, and provided special protection to the non-tidal segment of the Delaware River to preserve its exceptionally high water quality and water supply values. The Commission has taken these steps to meet public and private needs for, among other things, drinking water, recreation, power generation, and industrial activity -- but it's not enough. The Delaware Chapter of the Sierra Club is committed to protecting the environmental and public health values of the Delaware River Basin from proposed hydrolic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas. We will continue to to advocate for a complete ban on fracking to ensure protection of the Delaware River Basin.