|(RE: Delaware Climate Action Plan SB 305)Tuesday, June 14, 2022|
Proposed Climate Change Solutions Act needs new guardrails on agency authority….
Senate Bill 305 sets aggressive goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in all segments of our economy, memorializes the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) authority to establish a Climate Action Plan (CAP), and requires all state agencies to participate in developing the plan. The bill passed the Senate and is on its way to the House of Representatives. An amendment establishes that the bill does not grant any new authority to implement programs defined in the CAP but also does not limit existing authority. A trigger is needed to determine when legislative action is required.Governor Carney has announced that he wants to follow regulatory actions established in California, and the CAP includes studies of using those strategies in Delaware. Those regulations in California have led to the eventual banning of gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of electric vehicles that currently add about $15,000 per vehicle. Natural gas and propane are banned in new or remodeled homes and commercial buildings. There is also a mandate for offshore wind subsidized by electric customers, and our recent analysis shows that doing that in Delaware could add $400 to $545 a year to residential electric bills. These regulations may not be adopted in Delaware, but are being studied. Issues of this magnitude should be decided by the General Assembly.Bill supporters claim DNREC wouldn’t go down this road without legislative approval, but history shows a different story. A few years ago, DNREC banned a refrigerant that cost $4/pound in favor of a $60/pound refrigerant with lower greenhouse gas impact. The basis was a United Nations Treaty that never received the advice and consent of the US Senate as required by the Constitution and an EPA regulation that was overturned in court. This change might add $100 to a new car price or vehicle repair and several hundred dollars to a home air conditioning repair and could cost Delawareans $25 to $45 million a year. The savings of the regulation would amount to 4 one-hundred thousandths of a degree lower global temperature, essentially zero. Public comments explained these facts but were ignored, and DNREC never considered asking for legislative approval. DNREC will not willingly go back to the legislature for any action they want to take.Meanwhile, Senate Bill 310, establishing a more robust Energy Advisory Council (EAC), is headed for easy passage. The EAC is modeled after an Energy Panel established by Senator Hansen with a wide range of stakeholders that have worked extremely well and has led to legislation that is being passed unanimously.
SB 305 needs an amendment at line 106 of the bill that states, “Climate Action Plan Implementation Programs developed by DNREC must be reviewed by the Energy Advisory Council who will offer revisions and will determine if supporting legislation is required.”CLICK HERE! Email your public comments to the House Committee before Thursday, June 16th!
Sincerely,The CRI Team
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