The Clean Water for Delaware Act, House Bill 200 has arrived. Representative Longhurst, Senator McBride and their colleagues in the House and Senate will announce the introduction of HB 200 on June 5th. According to the bill, the General Assembly finds that our waters are among our most basic and valuable resources and recognizes a compelling interest in ensuring we all have access to clean water. The GA further finds that we are at risk for flooding and drainage hazards, that our economic vitality is dependent on clean water, that most of our waterways fall below standard and some Delawareans do not have access to potable drinking water or basic wastewater disposal. Federal monies are not enough to address these problems and more and for that reason, HB 200 has been released.
This bill will not increase the tax burden on Delawareans.
Please email the following committee members and urge them to support this bill:
The following letter was suggested for use by another environmentally concerned organization in Sussex County. Please revise it according to your needs.
Dear Committee Members,
I am writing in support of HB200.
I live in Sussex County where clean water is essential to our economy and lack of clean water is a threat to public health. 90% of Delaware's waterways are polluted from excess nutrients and legacy toxins. 100 miles of Delaware's waterways have fish consumption advisories, and we are losing 1 acre of tidal wetlands everyday in the Delaware region.
The Inland Bays, which are the heart of Sussex County have seen positive trends over the years but voluntary actions to reduce nutrient pollution, as prescribed by The Pollution Control Strategy for agriculture and stormwater, show little progress, highlighting the need for dedicated funding. Human health risks also continue for recreational use of the Bays and most tributaries and canals continue to have very poor water quality and are unsafe for swimming or for the harvest of shellfish. You can read more in the 2016 State of the Delaware Bays Report.
This bill seeks to address these problems and would invest in infrastructure that would ensure clean drinking water for Delaware families. Too many wells in Sussex County do not provide safe drinking water and must be treated by homeowners or avoided altogether. Our groundwater is highly susceptible to nutrients, pathogens, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides, PCBs, metals, and other organics and inorganics. I want the peace of mind that the water and waste water treatment plants here at home and throughout Delaware will have the funding needed to keep our water safe for decades to come. Such funding could also drive job creation in green infrastructure which could launch Delaware and it's workforce into the 21st century.
Sussex County is also home to many underserved communities which would benefit from dedicated funding. This includes communities like Ellendale, Martin Swamp, Coverdale Crossroads, East Millsboro, West Laurel, Unincorporated Frankford, and Johnson's Corner. For many in these communities this is more than just an abstract issue, for them this bill could save their lives and the lives of their families. These chemicals and other hazardous materials found in our waterways have been directly linked to cancer and other neurological disorders.
Please vote in favor of moving HB 200 out of committee. Our children and grandchildren deserve a future with clean water.