Carper’s EPW Committee Advances Legislation to Support Delaware Environmental Priorities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a business meeting of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee’s top Democrat, helped advance common sense legislation to continue programs that have historically helped Delaware clean up contaminated Brownfield sites and improve Delaware’s air quality by continuing the Diesel Emissions Reduction program across the country. The committee also approved legislation jointly sponsored by Senator Carper and Senator Chris Coons to allow residents of North Bethany Beach access to flood insurance, beach nourishment and other federal programs currently denied to them.

“The common sense and bipartisan environmental bills approved by the committee today are big wins for Delawareans,” said Senator Carper. “Continuing the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, which I first coauthored back in 2005, helps Delaware improve our air quality at home and protect the health of the most vulnerable Delawareans by cleaning up diesel pollution sources across the country.  Today’s actions is another sign of bipartisan support for one of the most effective clean air programs that has been used across Delaware to clean up old diesel engines that take our kids to school, move goods at our port and ferry people to and from Delaware. Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields program has been a vital tool in redeveloping old industrial sites throughout the country. Delaware alone has received nearly $11 million dollars in grants since the program began, including support for cleaning up a number of properties along the riverfront in Wilmington.”

The committee unanimously approved Senator Carper’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) of 2017, which would extend one of the nation’s most cost-effective clean air programs that incentivizes the voluntary replacement or retrofitting heavy-duty diesel vehicles and engines. Since DERA was first signed into law in 2005 and reauthorized in 2010, state and local governments have leveraged federal funds to upgrade nearly 73,000 vehicles or pieces of equipment. The EPA estimates that total lifetime emission reductions achieved through DERA have saved over 450 million gallons of fuel and delivered as much as $12.6 billion in health benefits.

The commitee also reauthorized the EPA’s Brownfields program to redevelop formerly-used industrial sites throughout the country, creating jobs and economic opportunity in communities across the country. Delaware alone has received nearly $11 million dollars in grants since the program began, helping to clean up five brownfields sites in Wilmington and supporting the South Wilmington Wetlands Project, among other projects in the state. Nationally, each grant dollar by EPA leverages over $16 dollars from state and private partners, and brings thousands of new jobs to formerly blighted areas.

The committee also approved a bill co-sponsored by Senator Carper and Senator Chris Coons to amend the Coastal Barrier Resources Act to redraw coastal barrier map boundaries in North Bethany Beach, correcting a mapping error that denied property owners access to certain federal benefits. The legislation allows residents of South Shores Marina to access flood insurance, beach re-nourishment, and other federal programs.