Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

The Delaware Attorney General says that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control violated the Freedom of Information Act.

The office says that the agency failed to properly respond to a request for records by the Delaware Audubon Society last year.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the law requires agencies to respond within 15 days by either providing the records, denying the request or asking for more time.

The Delaware City Refinery is balking at paying a $150-thousand fine with its parent company PBF Energy calling it arbitrary and unreasonable.

The fines originated with an incident in 2013 in which state officials determined that the refinery concealed 17 shipments of crude oil and violated the limits on such shipments.

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary David Small handed down the fine in early March based on the determination of his predecessor.  

DELAWARE CITY, Del. (AP) - Officials say an equipment malfunction caused the Delaware City Refinery to release a hazardous chemical into the air.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental control announced that the facility released 100 lbs. of sulfur dioxide into the air Wednesday morning.
WDEL-FM reports that the chemical is considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The state environmental agency says the facility has fixed the equipment malfunction that was to blame.

The battle over the ethanol expansion request by the Delaware City Refinery has pitted lawyers for the state and the refinery against citizen groups as they go before the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control along with the company claim that five of the seven arguments against the expansion are erroneous and reflect desperation.

But Delaware Audubon and the League of Women Voters of Delaware call the claims misdirection and say they are failing to follow the law.

Shipments of crude oil have been sent from Delaware City Refinery to third-party destinations in 2014.

That admission comes from the facility’s owner PBF Energy after claiming in 2013 that it had only sent one shipment to a destination in New Jersey which was authorized by the Delaware Department Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the state decided not to issue a sanction against PBF for a shipment of crude oil to a Philadelphia refinery that same year.

Jan Tik / creative commons

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The Number 1 surf fishing tag in Delaware has sold for $26,000.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that Jim Weller, a Lincoln businessman, secured the tag in the final bid of an auction during a barbeque competition at Delaware Seashore State Park near Bethany Beach.

Weller said he purchased the tag in order to resell it-he doesn't fish, he said.

The tags are used by fishermen and surfers to access certain beaches.

Weller also purchased license number 11 for $2,700.

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials have issued a water quality advisory at Rehoboth Beach after high levels of bacteria were found in the water.

Rehoboth Beach City Manager Sharon Lynn says that while swimming isn't banned, warning signs were posted Thursday on the back of lifeguard stands. The beach and ocean remain open.

Elevated bacteria levels were shown in a water sample taken Wednesday, the day before the Rehoboth area got over an inch of rain.

Harim Allen Chicken Website

A public hearing on the expansion of a Harim chicken processing plant in Harbeson drew neighbors and environmentalists last night.

The company wants to expand the facility to handle just under 2 million birds per week.

WBOC reports that the company said it wanted to construct a four stage nutrient removal system that would eliminate 97 percent of the nutrients in the water.

A meeting in late April saw around 100 neighbors attend a meeting on the expansion where they expressed concerns about the impact on the neighboring community.

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LEWES, Del. (AP) - State wildlife officials say the first piping plover nest of the season was found late last week on the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said in a news release Monday that an American oystercatcher nest was also found.

Wildlife biologist Matthew Bailey says four or five pairs of plovers have set up territories at the park.

Don Rush

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Natural Resources officials are wasting no time in cleaning up and reinforcing Rehoboth Beach after last month's snowstorm.

A worker was operating a dozer through the sand less than two weeks of the snowstorm hit, pushing sand the edge of the dry beach to the dunes, over a layer of water.

This process reinforces the dunes, Tony Pratt of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control tells WBOC-TV.

Pratt says nature does most of the work, but the dozers can speed things up a bit.

Don Rush

Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control unveiled proposals for dealing with the drainage problems in Oak Orchard.

Last night the public got its first look at some of projects that state officials will be tackling to hand the flooding that the town is prone to.

WBOC reports that one would set up drainage systems where the flooding occurs most in the town.

In addition, an effort could be made to beef up of the tidal barriers for culverts that lead into the river.

Don Rush

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - A Superior Court judge has tossed out a massive rewrite of Delaware's storm water and erosion-control regulations.

Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves ruled Wednesday that the Department of National Resources and Environmental Control provided "illogical" justifications for failing to include many technical but critical details, including failing to hold any public hearings on the 2,000-page regulations.

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Representative John Kowalko has launched a petition drive aimed at removing a half million tons of waste at an Edge Moor pigment plant.

The Newark Democrat said he is worried that the Chemours’ facility could pollute the surrounding area if the plant is sold or left abandoned after the company closes it.

That would leave the taxpayer to fund the cleanup of the 15 acre site if the waste leaked into the groundwater.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that a Chemours spokesperson said that there were no plans to sell the facility.

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Allen Harim’s plans for a chicken processing plant in the Millsboro area just got a step closer.

The poultry company beat back a court challenge this month by a group of residents trying to overturn the decision by the Sussex County Board of Adjustments.

The arguments revolved around technical issues including whether the company had standing in applying for an exception it received from the board and whether there was sufficient public notice.

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Delaware Congressman John Carney came to Rehoboth Beach with a message.

He opposes the federal plans to open up the Atlantic Coast to off shore drilling.

He met with environmental and tourism officials as part of his week of meetings aimed at the concerns over climate change.

Carney worries about the impact of what an oil spill like the recent one off the coast of Santa Barbara in California could have on the First State’s billion dollar tourism industry.

PhotoInko / creative commons

DOVER, Del. (AP) - Officials are wrapping up a series of public meetings on proposed increase in user fees at Delaware's state parks.

The fiscal 2015 capital budget approved by lawmakers earlier this year authorized the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to propose a fee increase after receiving public comment and approval of advisory councils.

Officials have held public comment sessions in Sussex and New Castle counties, and the final session was scheduled for Tuesday at Killens Pond in Kent County.

tim kiser / creative commons

NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - An organization trying to promote a healthy and welcoming living and work environment in downtown Wilmington is asking a state panel for several hundred thousand dollars.

Downtown Visions is asking for a state Strategic Fund grant of up to $368,000 to expand its safety and patrol services in a targeted section of downtown Wilmington.

The state Council on Development Finance was scheduled to consider the request at its meeting Monday.

Don Rush

Delaware environmental officials have sent violation notices out to DuPont Company and Alma Properties LLC for illegally stockpiling soil that damaged the I-495 Bridge across the Christina River in east Wilmington.

This is the first legal move by the state to recover the $45 million price tag for repairing the bridge that was dramatically shutdown after its support columns were found to be titled.

bloom energy website

The Delaware department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says it will be reissuing a permit to allow Bloom Energy to consumer more than natural gas than originally anticipated for its electrical project.

Officials say that they forgot to update the permit as the project grew larger at a Delmarva Power substation.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the Bloom project has been challenged by local residents who said the fuel-cell maker’s products are not as efficiently as promised.         

DNREC logo

New Castle County officials are ready to offer $6.6 million to two major landowners so they do not develop their farmland near Port Penn.

That’s despite the appraisal of a state agency that found that was too high for one of the farms.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that the county is now hoping to use money from a federal conservation program to cover the cost of the deal.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control recommended the outright purchase of just one farm was $1 million less.

More than a ton of sulfur dioxide was emitted at the Delaware City Refinery.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says that more than 2,750 pounds of the chemical compound was released from the refinery around 8:30 p.m. on Monday.

The facility is owned by PBF Energy.

DNREC is investigating the incident.

The Markell administration has turned down a proposal to lease an office block in Dover that was built by a developer now facing bank fraud and money laundering charges.

The State Street Commons was built by an investor group led by Michael Zimmerman.

And his brother had helped craft the lease proposal as a top employee of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

The state environmental agency had been looking at leasing the building since 2008.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says the Delaware City Refinery released 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide.

The incident occurred late last night for the second time in August.

The cause is still under investigation.

State officials say the company released the chemical into the air in early August.

In that instance it was due to an equipment malfunction that has since been fixed.

The Environmental Protection Agency has classified Sulfur dioxide as a hazardous substance.


CAPE HENLOPEN, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say seven piping plover chicks have been spotted on the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says two pairs of piping plovers hatched chicks last week. Both broods of the threatened shore bird have moved away from the nest site toward the shoreline to feed.

Two other plover pairs in the area are still incubating their eggs. Monitors are keeping a lookout for two more pairs who may renest after they lost their nests.



NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Members of the board overseeing Delaware's Sustainable Energy Utility are meeting amid heightened public scrutiny of the energy efficiency program.

The SEU oversight panel was scheduled to meet Friday morning at the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offices in New Castle.

Lawmakers voted in 2008 to establish the oversight board to help promote energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in Delaware.


     With the warm weather comes the annual mosquito eradication spraying.

    The Delaware state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Mosquito Control Section has begun treating wooded wetlands near populated areas in New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties.

   There are approximately 7,000 to 10,000 acres that have woodland pools where early season mosquitoes breed in quantity.


      DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware is looking for volunteers to help plant dune grasses.

     The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says beach grass will be planted Saturday on public beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay. The planting will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon at various locations. Those interested in volunteering can find locations on the department's website.