Delaware Attorney Calls DNREC Actions Unconstitutional in H - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Attorney Calls DNREC Actions Unconstitutional in Hearing

Posted: Updated:
Sussex County Courthouse (Source: WBOC) Sussex County Courthouse (Source: WBOC)

GEORGETOWN, Del. - A legal debate continued Tuesday over a set of regulations instituted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which multiple plaintiffs have called unfair and unconstitutional. 

Rich Abbott, attorney for the plaintiffs, on Tuesday morning made his case to Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes. Abbott said regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants created a financial burden on rate-payers in Delaware. 

"Those electric consumers will pay more money because of DNREC's invalid regulations," Abbott said. 

The debate first began in 2005, when Delaware joined eight other states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative agreement. The other states in this regional group were Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. That agreement called for the reduction of CO2 emissions from power plants, by setting a cap of 180 million metric tons for the region. 

In 2012, the group voted to cut that cap in half, reducing it to 90 million metric tons. As a result, Delaware passed the Carbon Dioxide Budget Trading Program in 2013, which was essentially the state's corresponding regulations to the change. Abbott’s clients have argued that this was unconstitutional because the change was made without a vote from the General Assembly. 

"It boils down to separation of powers,” he said. "The General Assembly can do pretty much as it wishes. But the executive branch - DNREC - can only do what the General Assembly allows them to do. And they exceeded their authority in the regulations we're challenging." 

Abbott represents various plaintiffs including David Stevenson from the Caesar Rodney Institute and state Rep. Harold Peterman of Milford. 

Deputy Attorney General Ralph Durstein, who represented DNREC at the hearing, said the action was within the rights of DNREC’s secretary. 

“It was understood,” he said, “that over time the cap could change… The General Assembly delineated the authority to the secretary.” 

Durstein also argued that it was unclear that the costs would be passed along to the consumers.

At Tuesday’s hearing, which lasted close to three hours, Abbott made arguments for two motions. The first would be to put a “stay” or a freeze on the regulations, until a final decision is made. The second called for a “summary judgment,” meaning that a judge would make the decision, and not a jury. Stokes did not immediately make a decision on Tuesday, so he could “reflect” on all the information.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Dover Wastewater Pump Station Remains Shuttered

    Dover Wastewater Pump Station Remains Shuttered

    Feb 20, 2018 7:09 PM2018-02-21 00:09:00 GMT
    Tuesday, February 20 2018 8:00 PM EST2018-02-21 01:00:11 GMT
    DOVER, Del. --- Public Works crews on Tuesday removed faulty sewer pumps that failed the day prior, shuttering a pump station and prompting around-the-clock maintenance to contain the flow of sewage until repairs can be made.More
    DOVER, Del. --- Public Works crews on Tuesday removed faulty sewer pumps that failed the day prior, shuttering a pump station and prompting around-the-clock maintenance to contain the flow of sewage until repairs can be made.More
  • Man Arrested for Stealing From Cars in Seaford

    Man Arrested for Stealing From Cars in Seaford

    Feb 20, 2018 6:35 PM2018-02-20 23:35:00 GMT
    Tuesday, February 20 2018 6:36 PM EST2018-02-20 23:36:33 GMT
    Delaware State Police have arrested a man in connection with multiple thefts from cars in Seaford.More
    Delaware State Police have arrested a man in connection with multiple thefts from cars in Seaford.More
  • First Eight National Folk Festival Performers Announced

    First Eight National Folk Festival Performers Announced

    Feb 20, 2018 5:30 PM2018-02-20 22:30:00 GMT
    Tuesday, February 20 2018 5:30 PM EST2018-02-20 22:30:56 GMT
    SALISBURY, Md.- The National Folk Festival announced its first group of eight artists who will perform at the event taking place in Salisbury on September 7th-9th this year. The national festival will welcome nearly 350 artists to downtown, including dancMore
    SALISBURY, Md.- The National Folk Festival announced its first group of eight artists who will perform at the event taking place in Salisbury on September 7th-9th this year. The national festival will welcome nearly 350 artists to downtown, including dancMore
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • New Waterfront Hotel Breaks Ground in O.C.

    New Waterfront Hotel Breaks Ground in O.C.

    The location of a new waterfront hotel that recently broke ground in Ocean City is raising some eyebrows with neighbors in the downtown area.

    The Cambria Hotel is being built in the vacant lot that sits just north of the Route 50 drawbridge, meaning it will be one of the first things drivers see headed into town.

    More

    The location of a new waterfront hotel that recently broke ground in Ocean City is raising some eyebrows with neighbors in the downtown area.

    The Cambria Hotel is being built in the vacant lot that sits just north of the Route 50 drawbridge, meaning it will be one of the first things drivers see headed into town.

    More
  • Police Search for Vandal Suspects Who Killed Fish

    Police Search for Vandal Suspects Who Killed Fish

    Police are investigating vandalism at Kitty's Flower Shop in Salisbury that occurred around 7:30 Thursday night. The store's outdoor pond was destroyed and several of the fish in that pond were killed.

    More

    Police are investigating vandalism at Kitty's Flower Shop in Salisbury that occurred around 7:30 Thursday night. The store's outdoor pond was destroyed and several of the fish in that pond were killed.

    More
  • Dover Police Announce Death of Officer

    Dover Police Announce Death of Officer

    The Dover Police Department says one of their own passed away yesterday. Corporal Thomas Hannon's death was a result of medical complications brought on after sustaining a leg injury in the line of duty in 2012.

    More

    The Dover Police Department says one of their own passed away yesterday. Corporal Thomas Hannon's death was a result of medical complications brought on after sustaining a leg injury in the line of duty in 2012.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices