Vote Tracker

HB 99 – The Delaware Climate Solutions Act

House Bill 99, otherwise known as the Climate Change Solutions Act, was released from the House Natural Resources Committee this week, meaning it could get a vote in the House next week. This bill is the most substantive bill concerning environmental issues in several years and would aim to cut greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2030 and would aim to have net-zero emissions by 2050. Similar legislation passed the Senate last year, but was killed in the House amid opposition from the business lobby and the Governor’s Administration.

The bill would codify a planning process to guide the state to meet those goals and require the state to draft and implement a climate action plan that would serve as a framework to guide state agencies to meet these goals. The plan would be updated every five years to ensure the best and newest practices are being implemented.

Under HB 99, key cabinet-level departments – such as Natural Resources, Transportation, Agriculture, Health and Social Services and others – would appoint climate officers to work with a chief climate officer to update and implement the climate action plan. Reduction strategies would be required to be equitable, complement federal efforts, maintain an adequate and reliable energy supply for Delaware, and not disproportionately impact overburdened and underserved communities.

The bill also requires at least one annual public meeting to allow for opportunities for public engagement in the development of the plan.

2014 Delaware Climate Change Impact Assessment examined past and projected future climate trends in Delaware. The report detailed how average and extreme temperatures, extreme rainfall and sea level rise are expected to accelerate in the First State as this century wears on, and the public health and infrastructure challenges these situations will create.

According to HB 99, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control would provide a climate action plan implementation report starting on January 1, 2024 and every two years thereafter. The report would summarize the state’s progress toward meeting targets.

The climate action plan itself would be updated by November 2025 and every five years thereafter.

HB 99 is the result of months of conversations with environmental advocates, Governor Carney’s administration and other stakeholders. According to polling conducted by The Nature Conservancy in Delaware, 60% of Delawareans think the state should do more to respond to climate change and support setting greenhouse gas reduction targets. About 70% support taking climate change into account when state government makes planning and procurement decisions.

HOUSE BILL 99 – CLIMATE SOLUTIONS ACTCurrrent Status – Out of Committee 5/2/23
House SponsorsHeffernan, Phillips ,Griffith, Johnson, Lambert, Longhurst, Moore, Wilson-Anton, Baumbach, Chukwuocha, Cooke, Dorsey Walker, Harris, Lynn, Minor-Brown, Morrison, Neal, Parker Selby, Romer, Schwartzkopf, WilliamsSenate SponsorsHansen, Townsend, Gay, Hoffner, Huxtable, McBride, Sokola, Sturgeon
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

“We are in the throes of a climate crisis that is impacting every aspect of our daily lives. Roads that never flooded before are underwater after even a moderate storm. Significant weather events are more frequent. Every summer seems to bring record-setting temperatures. And these are just the impacts we can see with the naked eye,” said Rep. Debra Heffernan. “Climate scientists have been ringing the alarm for years now, and we have to take action if we want to preserve our environment and way of life.

“HB 99 sets aggressive, but attainable, reduction targets for Delaware, cutting our net greenhouse gas emissions during the next 25-plus years until we reach net zero emissions in 2050. Doing this will remove harmful emissions from our atmosphere, which not only will benefit our environment and planet, but individual health as well. Now is the time to act: More and more clean energy alternatives are available as companies move toward more sustainable options. We must push forward to ensure a healthier and cleaner future for Delaware.”

“In my field, I’ve seen how climate change has impacted bird migration patterns, how turtle migration patterns are changing. These are animals a lot of people really care about, but also don’t realize are dying off because of climate change,” said Rep. Sophie Phillips. “As a wildlife ecologist, I’m excited to see this moving forward, knowing that we’ve worked with so many stakeholders on this to ensure that everybody was in agreement regarding how this final legislation will look. It’s going to do wonderful things for our state and for our ecosystem.”

“Protecting our environment from the harmful impacts of greenhouse gases requires all of us – collectively and as individuals – to take deliberate, meaningful actions that will mitigate the long-term harm we are causing to our planet,” said Sen. Stephanie Hansen, the Senate prime sponsor of House Bill 99. “The legislation Rep. Heffernan and I are introducing today sets aggressive, yet attainable, goals for our state government to hit, and tasks each department with taking responsibility for helping us to get there.”

“All Delaware elected officials pledge to ‘respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware’ when we take the Oath of Office. But our natural heritage is under threat. As the lowest-lying state in the nation, we’re seeing the effects of climate change and sea level rise on Delaware communities every day. That’s why we’re taking action to reduce greenhouse emissions,” said Governor Carney. “The Climate Solutions Act sets clear emissions reductions targets for the state – and lays out a plan for how we meet those goals. This is a necessary step in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan. Thank you to Representative Heffernan, Senator Hansen, and Representative Phillips for introducing this important legislation.”

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