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>>

  • Delaware Man Charged In Hawaii Nightclub Shooting

    Delaware Man Charged With Hawaii Nightclub Shooting

    09/21/2017 16:40:00 -04:002017-09-21 20:40:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 4:45 PM EDT2017-09-21 20:45:57 GMT
    A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.A Dover woman was arrested after providing officers with a fake name.
    A former Delaware death-row inmate who brought an 18-year-old Delaware man to Hawaii to get a fresh start says the teen has been falsely accused of a deadly shooting because he's black.More
    A former Delaware death-row inmate who brought an 18-year-old Delaware man to Hawaii to get a fresh start says the teen has been falsely accused of a deadly shooting because he's black.More
  • Laurel Police: Father Caught After Burglary, Son Still on the Run

    Laurel Police: Father Caught After Burglary, Son Still on the Run

    09/21/2017 14:32:00 -04:002017-09-21 18:32:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 3:01 PM EDT2017-09-21 19:01:38 GMT
     James Howell Jr. and James Howell Sr. James Howell Jr. and James Howell Sr.
    Police in Laurel, Del. say a father has been arrested and his son is on the run after they were caught burglarizing a home.More
    Police in Laurel, Del. say a father has been arrested and his son is on the run after they were caught burglarizing a home.More
  • Settlement Reached in Milton Political Sign Case

    Settlement Reached in Milton Political Sign Case

    09/21/2017 13:11:00 -04:002017-09-21 17:11:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 2:54 PM EDT2017-09-21 18:54:15 GMT
    One of Penny NIckerson's signs she had placed in her yard in Milton, Del.One of Penny NIckerson's signs she had placed in her yard in Milton, Del.
    The town of Milton, Del. on Thursday announced a settlement has been reached with a woman who filed an ACLU lawsuit with the town over the placement of political signs on her property.More
    The Town of Milton has settled an ACLU of Delaware lawsuit brought on behalf of a homeowner who had been prevented from placing political signs in her yard.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Former NFL Cheerleader Completes Weekend Del. Prison Stays

    Former NFL Cheerleader Completes Weekend Del. Prison Stays

    09/21/2017 04:07:00 -04:002017-09-21 08:07:00 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 4:10 AM EDT2017-09-21 08:10:21 GMT
    A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old boy at a vacation rental home in Delaware no longer has to report every other weekend to a Delaware prison facility.More
    A former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader who pleaded guilty to raping a 15-year-old boy at a vacation rental home in Delaware no longer has to report every other weekend to a Delaware prison facility.More
  • 39 Arrests in Smyrna Street Drug Operation

    39 Arrests in Smyrna Street Drug Operation

    09/20/2017 04:11:00 -04:002017-09-20 08:11:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:51 AM EDT2017-09-20 14:51:57 GMT

    A major investigation into a street drug operation in Smyrna leads to the arrest of 39 people, authorities said.

    More

    A major investigation into a street drug operation in Smyrna, Del. has led to the arrest of 39 people, authorities said.

    More
  • Woman Arrested In Newark Home Invasion

    Woman Arrested In Newark Home Invasion

    09/20/2017 22:25:00 -04:002017-09-21 02:25:00 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 10:36 PM EDT2017-09-21 02:36:24 GMT
    Courtesy of New Castle County PoliceCourtesy of New Castle County Police
    New Castle County Police have arrested 32-year-old Elizabeth Noone in connection to the home invasion that occurred in the community of Stones Throw Townhouses this morning.More
    New Castle County Police have arrested 32-year-old Elizabeth Noone in connection to the home invasion that occurred in the community of Stones Throw Townhouses this morning.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices