House Substitute 1 for House Bill 248

152nd General Assembly (Present)

Bill Progress

Out of Committee 6/11/24
Legislation has been voted out of Committee; now placed on the Ready List

Bill Details

Sen. Townsend
Rep. Cooke
This House Substitute bill clarifies it is only for new or substantially modified permits and specifies it is only for the following permits: (1) Clean Air permit; (2) Coastal Zone Act permit; (3) Solid waste permit; (4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit and (5) Hazardous waste permit. As in the original bill the applicant is still required to go through a community outreach process for any qualified project, defined as a project within an underserved community or within 3 miles of an underserved community that meets the definition of a “qualified project” under DNREC’s Regulations. Underserved community is defined as (1) A specified geographic area where the percentage at poverty level is greater than twice the State Average Median Household Income as determined by the most recent United States Census or (2) Any specified community in the most current community mapping tool on the Department’s website. It is anticipated that DNREC will have an environmental justice area viewer, or similar tool, as a link on its website. However, under this House Substitute bill the applicant must submit, with their permit application, a Community Outreach Plan. At a minimum the Community Outreach Plan must: (1) identify a facility community liaison; (2) schedule a community meeting in or within 3 miles of the boundaries of the underserved community; (3) provide a written overview of information to be provided in the permit application; (4) publish the community meeting notice on-line and in at least 1 newspaper and, if available, 1 in the predominate non-English language if the underserved community is identified as limited English proficiency, at least 30 days prior to the scheduled community meeting. The community meeting must allow for interaction and questions and answers. The community meeting must be recorded or transcribed and made publicly available. Any written materials and oral and visual presentations must be accurate, free of technical language, and written in plain English consistent with federal guidelines. The applicant must also provide an Underserved Community Outreach Report to DNREC as part of the permit application and review process by DNREC. The Report must include: (1) The community demographics that qualify it as an underserved community; (2) Community liaison’s contact information; (3) Benefits of the qualified project to the community; (4) Proposed activities and their impact on air, water, soil, and health; (5)That releases of emissions over permit levels will be reported in accord with DNREC regulations; (6) Description of operations conditions or control measures that serve to reduce or mitigate pollution associated with the permit application; (7) Compliance history of facility over last 5 years and verification that any fines, penalties and remedial obligations have been fulfilled; and (8) all applicable state and federal permits held by the facility. All material provided by mail or at the community meeting and all notices must also be provided to DNREC. Trade secrets, as defined in Title 6 of the Delaware Code, do not have to be disclosed in any community outreach materials or presentations. Under this House Substitute Bill DNREC must approve, reject, or require modifications to the Community Outreach Plan within 30 days of its submittal. If the proposed Community Outreach Plan complies with the requirements of this Act it must be approved by DNREC subject to any agreed modifications. Once approved by DNREC the applicant must complete the Community Outreach Plan within 3 months. If the Secretary of DNREC determines any false information was provided by the applicant, it will be considered a falsification of the permit application. All cost incurred in complying with these new pre-permit community outreach requirements are to be paid by the applicant. Under this House Substitute bill an applicant’s permit shall not be considered complete until a DNREC approved Community Outreach Plan is completed. This House Substitute bill not only requires the Department to promulgate regulations, within 6 months of enactment, but it adds they must be created in collaboration with a Stakeholder Committee made up of appointees of the Governor, the Secretary of the Department, the Chair of the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the Chair of the Senate Environment, Energy, and Transportation Committee. This Act will be effective within 30 days of publication of notice by the Register of Regulations that DNREC has advised it that it has promulgated regulations to administer this Act.
Not Required
Takes effect upon being signed into law

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