House Bill 466
151st General Assembly (Present)
House Natural Resources 6/9/22
Committee Hearing takes place within twelve legislative days.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 7 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITS IN OVERBURDENED COMMUNITIES.
This Act defines certain facilities which will require an applicant seeking a permit for a new facility, or expansion of an existing facility, or renewal of an existing permit, located in an overburdened community, as defined in the Act, to provide an environmental justice impact report. Facility includes the following commercial or industrial business: (1) Manufacturer of animal food, meat, seafood, tobacco, manufactured home, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, asphalt, ready-mix concrete, primary metal, nonmetallic mineral products, ammunition or transport equipment; (2) pulp, paper, paperboard and sawmills; (3) rail or water freight dock; (4) landfill, transfer station, resource recovery, scrap metal or recycle center or compost operator; (5) sewage treatment center, animal waste processor or sludge processor; (6) commercial livestock and poultry growers; (7) medical waste incinerator (with the exception of those attendant to a hospital or university intended to process self-generated medical waste); and (8) commercial or industrial businesses not contained in (1)-(7) that currently contribute or upon permit approval would contribute to the cumulative pollution in an overburdened community, as identified by the Department in conjunction with the Environmental Justice Board. For all permit applications, the environmental justice impact report would be required at least 60 days before a required public hearing. Under the Act an “overburdened community” is defined as any census tract, as delineated in the most recent U.S. Census, in which one or more of the following applies: (1) 35% of the residents are below 185% of federal poverty level. (2) At least 25% or more identify as minority or member of a state or federally recognized tribal community or immigrant. (3) 25% or more have limited English proficiency as defined by U.S. Census Bureau. (4) Geographic locations that potentially experience harms and risks as determined by the Environmental Justice Board. The Department would be required to create and post on its website a list of “overburdened communities” and update the list every 2 years. The Act establishes the Environmental Justice Board to review and make recommendations on the environmental justice impact reports, conduct public hearings, and other measures to help the Department fulfill the purpose of this chapter. The public hearing on the permit would be required to provide an opportunity for meaningful public participation by the overburdened community. Following the public hearing the Secretary would be required to consider the recommendation of the Environmental Justice Board and the testimony presented at the public hearing. The Secretary could impose conditions to the permit that may be necessary to reduce the adverse impact to the public health or to the environment in the overburdened community. The Secretary would have the authority to deny a permit application in an overburdened community upon a finding that the cumulative impact imposed by the new or expanded facility would constitute an unreasonable risk to the health of the residents of the overburdened community or to the environment in that community. The Act requires the Department to establish rules and regulations to implement the Act, in consultation with the Environmental Justice Board, within 6 months after its enactment.
Takes effect upon being signed into law