Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"It was a pretty good finish this year."

So says Brenna Goggin, environmental advocate for the Delaware Nature Society, in Jeff Montgomery's summary of environmental legislation in the News Journal.

The three energy bills (
SB 266, SB 267 and SS 1 to SB 119) that passed the House yesterday will result in Delaware burning less coal and installing more solar panels in the years to come. The House also passed HB 480, which would provide for the most significant reorganization of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) in its history. And the passage of SB 234 means that single stream recycling containers will be provided to every home in Delaware starting next year, though apartment buildings will take longer.

This being politics, sport metaphors abound:
"The recycling bill was the home run of the year. It was big," said Sen. David McBride, D-Hawks Nest, who waged a decades-long campaign to expand the state's lagging recycling rate.
Gerald Brady, floor manager in the House for the energy bills, described yesterday's passage to me, saying, "Slam dunk. 30 second drive to the basket." It was more like a 30 minute drive; SB 266 was passed at 6:34, SB 267 at 6:40, and SS1 to SB 119 at 6:59.

These bills got through because the governor was behind them and worked effectively with environmental advocates and other interested parties. SB 234, the recycling bill was the product of discussions with trash haulers, retailers, bottlers, beverage distributors, the Delaware Solid Waste Authority and advocates who had been pushing for statewide recycling for decades. (
Read here for more on how the recycling bill was passed less than a year after Jack Markell vetoed the UnBottle bill.)

Likewise, the energy bills were the product of extensive talks that included utilities, solar panel installers, green energy entrepreneurs and energy advocates. And we shouldn't forget that these important steps forward on environmental policy were enacted because ordinary citizens told their elected officials that they want to use more renewable energy and burn less coal, recycle more and bury less trash. Thanks, Delaware.

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