Photo courtesy of Senator Bryan Townsend’s Facebook page.
Yesterday was a big day in the committee, with House Bill 130 (Plastic Bag Ban) and House Bill 110 (Legalization of Marijuana) getting out of committee. HB110 will now get a vote in the House, and HB130 will now get a vote in the Senate, having already passed the House. Another new House bill that also made it out of committee yesterday was House Bill 200, the Delaware Clean Water Plan.
This Act establishes a program that will evaluate priorities, needs and projects for cleaning up Delaware’s contaminated water sources, and also provide a funding source to fund the necessary projects cleaning up our water.
This bill diverts at least $25 million in tax revenue each year to a new special fund that will be used for water infrastructure projects, such as storm water runoff, and projects that will clean up our waterways, 90% of which are contaminated. Pardon the pun, but with environmental officials estimating that the total six-year cost to solve the wastewater dilemma in Delaware will be $581 million, then $25 million a year funding is only a drop in the bucket, since it will take 24 years at that level of funding to complete the projects, rather than 6. But hey, a start is a start.
“This is a critical first step towards addressing the crisis-level needs we see throughout Delaware,” Senate Majority Whip Bryan Townsend said in a statement. “From chronic flooding, to aging sewer systems, to drinking water that isn’t drinkable, Delaware desperately needs sustained investment in water infrastructure. “This bill represents initial steps down a path of true commitment to meeting our water challenges. Let’s show immediate progress, and then push for even more investment to promote our economy and the health and safety of all Delawareans.”
Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, the bill’s prime sponsor, said in a statement: “Frankly, I’m concerned with the fact that Delawareans have been exposed to dangerous drinking water. I’m worried that residents can’t use our recreational waterways due to contamination and pollution.”
“It’s horrifying to see that some roads are simply impassable in intense weather events due to faulty flood management. Is this the reality we want for the First State? It’s time to be bold, and lay the foundation so future generations do not face these detrimental ramifications. As one of the nation’s lowest-lying states, Delaware needs to act today and put the necessary funding into water infrastructure.”
Given the large amount of sponsorship this bill has, I say it is likely to pass. However, Dustyn Thompson reports that Governor Carney and Speaker Schwartzkopf don’t like the funding mechanism (because they are both Republicans). So maybe the bill doesn’t get a vote or gets vetoed.
Leave it to Republicans John and Pete to miss a chance to make a down payment on forging our infrastructure and climate change future.
Jack Bucchioni of Blue Coast Talk sent along his program yesterday on HB200:
WHERE IS THE BILL? On the House floor for a vote 6/5/19
DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Longhurst, McBride, Hansen, Paradee, Poore, Townsend, Bush, Griffith, Heffernan, Lynn, Brown, Lockman, Sokola, Sturgeon, Walsh, Baumbach, Bennett, Bentz, Bolden, Brady, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Jaques, K.Johnson, Kowalko, Matthews, Minor-brown, Osienski, Seigfried, Viola, K.Williams
REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – Cloutier, Delcollo
YES VOTES –
NO VOTES –