Environment

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Don Rush

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A Senate committee is giving an unfavorable vote to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's bill to repeal stormwater management fees.

The bill was voted down Tuesday 6-4 by the Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs, along with two other bills that proposed the repeal of the fees.

Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller also has proposed a bill that would end a state mandate for fees. On Tuesday he testified before the same Senate committee, touting the bill's bipartisan support and cooperation among counties and environmentalists.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Fracking opponents came out in force Tuesday to speak their minds at a Senate hearing on legislation that would limit natural gas drilling in Maryland.

After more than five hours of testimony on unrelated legislation, by 6:30 p.m. the Senate committee had only just begun hearing testimony on the two drilling bills one that would place an eight-year moratorium on fracking and another to prohibit the practice.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Opponents of the natural gas drilling method known as fracking are rallying in Annapolis ahead of a hearing on prohibiting the practice in Maryland.

A rally planned for Tuesday is being led by Don't Frack Maryland, a campaign of environmental activists and businesses in western Maryland, where fracking is being considered.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process by which highly pressurized water, chemicals and sand are pumped into the ground, shaking loose rocks and releasing gas.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia program that recycles plastic pesticide containers collected nearly 40 percent more pounds of the cast-offs in 2014 than the year before.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said the program rinsed and granulated 128,226 pounds of empty containers. They were collected from 32 sites throughout the state.

Don Rush

Governor Larry Hogan has pulled the controversial phosphorus regulations on farmers.

They will not appear in the next issue of the Maryland Register essentially freezing any attempt to impose the new standards that found strong opposition from the poultry and agricultural industries on the Eastern Shore.

Erin Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said that Hogan has ordered all agencies to begin a comprehensive review of all pending regulations.

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Maryland’s two senators voted against the Keystone XL pipeline this week when it failed to get the 60 votes required to close debate in the Senate.

Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin joined 37 other Democrats and two independents in opposition to the legislation that would have given the green light to construct the 17-hundred mile project.

The pipeline would bring the controversial Canadian tar sands oil to Texas.

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Governor Martin O’Malley is going to move forward with the new phosphorus regulations.

An economic study has just been completed showing that the new rules could cost anywhere from $22 million to $50 million depending on the length of time take to implement them.

But the governor said that it’s time to move forward with the solutions endorsed by scientists and experts across the state to improve the health of the bay.

It could take as long as 6 years to implement.

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The U.S. Capitol Police say that four people were arrested yesterday at Senator Tom Carper’s Washington office where environmentalists were protesting his decision to support the Keystone XL pipeline in the Senate.

There were sit-ins at both the Delaware Democrat’s office and the office of another Democratic Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado.

Hayden Higgins a volunteer with the group of around 350 environmentalists told USA Today that they wanted to send a message that voting for the pipeline was a form of climate change denial.

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Before the Somerset County Zoning and Planning Commission yesterday was a battle over chickens.

Dozens of residents and environmental activists showed up to urge the panel to deny any new proposals for large-scale poultry operations.

Dr. Sacoby Wilson from the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health told the panel that there were serious health risks to the local water supply from chicken farms including pathogens, E. Coli and Salmonella.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A cleanup of coastal Delaware drew more than 1,800 volunteers who collected more than 3 tons of trash.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources said Friday that the volunteers fanned out along more than 80 miles of Delaware coastline on Sept. 20, from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.

The agency says about a third of the trash was able to be recycled, including glass and aluminum cans.

Volunteers found some unusual trash, too. That included an electric saber saw, a bowling ball, a car fender, crab traps and Christmas lights.

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FROSTBURG, Md. (AP) - University of Maryland researchers say there's a high likelihood that shale gas production in far western Maryland would negatively affect air quality in the region.

The report released Monday also found a high likelihood of negative impacts on occupational health and local medical systems due to surging employment in an industry with relatively high risks for respiratory ailments and truck accidents.

The report says there's a moderately high risk that water pollution from hydraulic fracturing would have public health consequences.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Environmental groups want the state to hold a public hearing on a plan to restore and protect Delaware River shoreline at docks near Delaware City.

Delaware Sierra Club and Delaware Audubon said in a letter to state environmental regulators that PBF Energy's plan could attract birds near an area they say is at risk for oil spills.

PBF's plan for its docks at its Delaware City refinery includes refilling shoreline and replacing nearly 1,000 5-foot high wave dampeners. Pilings would be driven to anchor oil spill containment booms.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Environment officials in Delaware are looking for the state's best young environmentalists.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is accepting nominations for the state's Young Environmentalist of the Year Awards. The department is accepting applications until June 20.

The state's young environmentalist programs honors students whose actions have resulted in the protection, restoration or enhancement of the state's natural resources. The department will choose an elementary school, middle school and high school winner.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - The Maryland League of Conservation Voters has endorsed Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for governor.

The environmental group announced the endorsement Wednesday in Baltimore.

Karla Raettig, the executive director of the organization, says the group is confident Brown will build on the environmental record of Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The group also noted Brown's running mate, Ken Ulman, for environmental initiatives he supported as county executive of Howard County.

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Republican gubernatorial candidate David Craig took a tour through Wicomico County yesterday, and Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush caught up with him to focus on some local issues ranging from the wind farm in Somerset County and environmental issues to economic development in the region.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware's environmental secretary, Collin O'Mara, is resigning to become director of the National Wildlife Federation.

Officials with Gov. Jack Markell's administration confirmed Thursday that O'Mara will leave the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in July to lead the Reston, Virginia-based group.

The 35-year-old O'Mara was tapped by Markell to lead Delaware's environmental agency in 2009, making him the youngest state cabinet official in the nation at the time.

Bob Quinn / Chesapeake Bay Foundation

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation says more friend-of-the-court briefs have been filed in support of a massive restoration of the estuary.

The leading advocate for the bay's cleanup says one amicus brief has been filed by several cities, including New York, Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A second was filed by Florida conservation groups.

This month, Virginia's attorney general filed an amicus brief in support of the plan.

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HAMPTON, Va. (AP) - Virginia is defending the federal and state plan to restore the Chesapeake Bay.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Thursday the state has filed a friend-of-the court brief in support of pollution limits to restore the bay after decades of neglect. The filing is with the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

Farm industry groups are appealing a federal judge's decision last September to uphold the federal pollution limits.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Board of Public Works has postponed a decision on whether to grant permits for a Kent Island housing development in an environmentally sensitive area near the Chesapeake Bay.

Gov. Martin O'Malley said Wednesday he believes the board needs greater assurance that a proposed 131-acre park in the proposal will not be developed in the future.

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