A coalition of progressive and environmental groups are challenging Delaware lawmakers to sign on to a set of green resolutions to kick-off the 2022 legislative session this week. Endorsers of these green initiatives include the Delaware Working Families Party, Sunrise Newark, Delaware DSA, Delaware Call, Extinction Rebellion, Delaware Food & Water Watch and Green New Deal Network.

Maya Van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and author of the book “The Green Amendment,” ranked her top three list of environmental priorities for 2022:

  • The fact that Delaware now has a Green Amendment proposal that will be advancing in the state capital this year;
  • The continuing decline of the Delaware River’s Atlantic sturgeon populations;
  • The steps backward and then forward on polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) contamination in waters and on land.

The environmental activists claim that confronting the climate crisis “has been impeded by the short-sighted interests of powerful economic players.” Specifically, they call for a Green Amendment to the Delaware Constitution and support current legislation in the pipeline, including HB 259, requiring an emergency alert system to inform citizens when disasters strike.

They further demand that cumulative impacts of proposed developments and aggregated effects be assessed, especially as they affect the poor and working class. They want to increase open space funding, disallow emission reduction credits in overburdened communities, ensure compliance monitoring of state agencies, and ensure equitable, effective and transparent management of PFAS settlement funds. Finally, they call on legislators to “reject campaign contributions from fossil fuel interests, including banks that fund fossil-fuel projects.”

The coalition sent out the green resolutions to lawmakers at the opening of the legislative session Jan. 11 and will be initiating a campaign of personal contacts and meetings to secure commitments. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Support a Green Amendment to the Delaware Constitution, which would grant all people, including future generations, the right to clean air and water, a stable climate and a healthy environment.
  • Support House Bill 259, requiring use of the emergency alert system to inform people of catastrophic releases of toxic pollutants.
  • Ensure that PFAS settlement funds are managed equitably, effectively and transparently.

According to the EPA, PFAS chemicals are found in water, air, fish and soil at locations across the nation.

Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different polyfluorinated consumer, commercial and industrial products.

Staff Reporter

Mike has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern and is a 25-year member of the National Press Club. He has won four national writing awards for editorial work. He is a native of McLean, Va., and lives in Millville.