Environment

Glen Dillon / wikipedia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Hundreds of protesters streamed into Virginia's capital city to criticize the Democratic governor's energy policies, including his support for a proposed natural gas pipeline.

Carrying signs that read "We won't pipe down," the group on Saturday also lambasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe's support for offshore oil drilling and for not trying to stop an electric company's release of treated coal ash water into rivers.

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GLOUCESTER POINT, Va. (AP) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a report on the health of coastal wetlands in the nation, with the five-year effort revealing that wetlands in the coastal plains region, which includes Virginia, are slightly healthier than the nation overall.

The Daily Press reports that the EPA's survey shows that 50 percent of all wetland types in the region were in good health, 21 percent were in fair condition and 29 percent were in poor condition.

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There was another public forum on the debate over the arrival of mega chicken houses in Wicomico County.

It was held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center last night by local government leaders.

But WBOC reports that when it was over many critics walked away unsatisfied.

There were representatives from the state departments of health, agriculture and the environment to answer questions from the public.

Don Rush

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials are asking the Delaware Supreme Court to overturn a judge's ruling that invalidated sediment and stormwater regulations adopted over the past two years.

The judge ruled last year that the regulations were invalid because they required adherence to technical documents that were not subject to public hearings or comment under the state Administrative Procedures Act.

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There will be no moratorium on large chicken houses in Wicomico County.

Council president John Cannon told a meeting last night, that the council does not have enough information to impose one. 

state.delaware.gov

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Developer Joseph L. Capano Sr. has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and an environmental violation in connection with the construction of housing in in New Castle.

Local media report that the 74-year-old Capano enter the plea Monday in federal court in Wilmington.

Prosecutors say Capano used more than $145,000 in loan proceeds earmarked for building the Riverbend for personal purchases. According to his plea agreement, Capano admitted to ordering some construction of the residential development to go through protected wetlands.

save beach cove

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State environmental officials say that several sites will be off-limits to shellfish farmers as they move forward with permitting plans.
 
The Wilmington News Journal reports that state officials announced Wednesday that they are moving forward with plans for a statewide permit that would expedite the process for future shellfish famers.
 
Some of the areas that will be off-limits to farmers include Beach Cove in Indian River Bay and other near-shore sites in Little Assawoman Bay.
 

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A measure supporters say would be the first in the country to help protect bees by taking certain pesticides off of store shelves has been approved by the Maryland Senate.

Senators voted 32-14 Wednesday for the Pollinator Protection Act. It now goes to the House.

The measure would limit pesticides containing neonicotinoids to certified applicators, farmers and veterinarians. Consumers would not be about to buy them in stores in 2018.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's lieutenant governor is urging federal officials to exclude Virginia from offshore drilling.

In a letter addressed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam said offshore drilling has the potential to threaten the environment, defense, agriculture and tourism of the state.

Northam, a Democrat, has announced his plans to run for governor in 2017. In the letter, he cited the "demise of the Chesapeake Bay" and his work toward its restoration as one of the reasons he decided to run for public office.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Senate has approved extending coal tax credits that critics say do a poor job of helping the state's coal country.

The upper chamber voted Monday to approve continuing two coal-related tax credits, which are set to expire shortly, to 2022. The measure was approved by a large margin, indicating that it would likely survive a veto by Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Republican supporters of the measure said it was necessary to help Southwest Virginia's hard-hit coal industry.

webapp.psc.state.md.us

BALTIMORE (AP) - Seven people were arrested during a protest of a trash-burning power plant in south Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun reports Tuesday's demonstration at the Maryland Department of the Environment headquarters was led by the Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club and United Workers. The groups oppose the construction of the Fairfield Renewable Energy Power Plant.

Police didn't release the identities of those arrested or their charges.

elizabeth prata / creative commons

Wicomico County could see the largest chicken operation to be built in the area just outside of Salisbury.

It would contain 13 poultry houses and would be located near Naylor Mill and North West roads to the northwest of the town.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that the proposal has environmentalists rallying for a fight against the project.

They say it’s just part of a major move toward large poultry operations that began in Accomack and Somerset counties.

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Maryland board has approved a wetlands license needed to build more than 1,000 homes for senior citizens on Kent Island.

The Board of Public Works voted 2-1 Wednesday for a license needed for the Four Seasons development, a project that has sparked debate for years.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and Treasurer Nancy Kopp voted for it.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - U.S. Roman Catholic bishops are issuing an election-year guide stressing a moral imperative to evaluate candidates according to their positions on marriage and abortion.

The bishops adopted the guide called "Faithful Citizenship" at their national assembly Tuesday in Baltimore. The document was approved overwhelmingly in a vote at the event.

The statement was especially watched for how much it reflected the priorities of Pope Francis, who was elected two years ago.

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Not a week goes by when a shooting doesn't spark a conversation about gun control. Delmarva Public Radio Essayist George Merrill writes that a recent letter from the head of the National Rifle Association got him to thinking about just what the organization wants from him. 

ereic christensen / gnu free documentation license

The Assateague Coastal Trust has scheduled a public meeting on Thursday in Sussex County on the impact of offshore drilling along the Atlantic Coast.

The Trust argues that tourism, the preservation of wildlife and the environment will be negatively affected by the drilling.

The Trust’s Executive Director Kathy Phillips told WBOC that there was a fear that the offshore drilling could disrupt marine life while oil spills could damage the coastal communities.           

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.

Delaware River Basin Commission

NEWARK, Del. (AP) - Environmentalists, government officials and academics are gathering at the University of Delaware for a two-day meeting to discuss issues involving the Delaware River watershed.

Gov. Jack Markell was scheduled to deliver Monday's keynote address at the Delaware River Watershed Forum gathering.

Congressman John Carney and National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara also were scheduled to attend the third annual event.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia and West Virginia each are receiving $1 million in federal funding for their roles in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.

The funding from the U.S. Department of Education is intended to help farmland owners plant trees along rivers and streams to reduce runoff into waters that feed the bay.

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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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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's administration is still reviewing the impact of President Barack Obama's plan to dramatically cut emissions from U.S. power plants, but Maryland Democrats already are praising the plan.

Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles, of Hogan's administration, says it takes time to review the fine print of 3,000 pages. He says the good news is Maryland is well-positioned to be a leader among states on its own terms and through regional collaboration.

Don Rush

Rehoboth voters gave the thumbs up to $70 million for building a new city hall and a new wastewater outfall.

$52 million will go to the outfall and $18 million for the new city hall.

Mayor Sam Cooper told the television station that he was relieved after approval by voters over the weekend.

The city hall project got the green light by more than 150 votes out of 12-hundred ballots cast.

Meanwhile, the outfall has gotten opposition from environmental groups who fear the pollution from nutrients flowing into the water. 

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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.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Members of a state advisory panel are eyeing draft legislation that would impose a fee on single-use grocery bags in Delaware.

The status of draft fee legislation was to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the state Recycling Public Advisory Council.

Delaware already encourages the recycling of plastic grocery bags by requiring stores to provide bins where customers can return bags.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Six university presidents have formally agreed to work together on challenges facing Virginia's coastal and ocean communities.

The Virginia Sea Grant charter was signed Monday in Richmond by the presidents of George Mason, Old Dominion, Virginia Commonwealth, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and William & Mary.

NASA tv

The environmental impact report on the explosion of the Antares rocket at Wallops Flight Facility is in.

And, it found that some of the most serious occurred inside the 50 foot crater that saw ground water seep into the hole created by the rocket as it exploded 15 seconds after liftoff.

Around the site there was contamination from perchlorate which is used to make the rocket fuel.

That could pose a risk to the workers.

There were two recommendations.    

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Perdue Farms has donated $10-thousand to the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for the annual Project Clean Stream that will take place on April 11th.

The money comes through the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation and is aimed at funding the annual Bay watershed and shoreline cleanup program.

Al Todd, executive director of the Alliance for the Alliance told the Salisbury Daily Times that Perdue Farmes has had a long-time partnership with the cleanup program.

Perdue Farm initiated Project Clean Stream seven years ago in Salisbury.

pbf website

The latest permit renewal request for the Delaware City Refinery found more than 500 people crammed into an auditorium at the Gunning Bedford Elementary School last night.

It was hearing on the facility’s cooling water intake and pollution discharge rights.

Environmentalists showed up -- some in fish costumes – and argued that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control had incorrectly agreed to issue the permit.

CREATIVE COMMONS

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Environmentalists are criticizing an official from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration for supporting federal legislation they say will hurt efforts to curb pollution from coal ash, a coal combustion byproduct.

Several environmental groups said they were upset that a McAuliffe administration official testified Wednesday before a U.S. House subcommittee in favor of a bill backed by electric utilities. Republican U.S. Rep. David McKinley of West Virginia is the bill's sponsor.

dnrec website

LAUREL, Del. (AP) - The Division of Fish & Wildlife says it has expanded the Robert L. Graham Nanticoke Wildlife Area with the acquisition of 14 acres of woodlands and wildlife habitat.

Officials said in an email on Tuesday that the new land surrounds Wrights Creek off Ellis Mill Road near Laurel. The acquisition will preserve more than 2,500 feet of mature woodland buffer along the creek.

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