Commentary: Watching the steady decline of Delaware

Green Delaware has often sought to hold up a mirror to Delaware. Do we understand what our state is and is not? Here’s a mirror held up by another organization, Wilmington was rated in a recent survey of 182 U.S. cities as fifth from the bottom in the U.S. in “most conducive to family […]

Commentary: Plastics bill would cause undue harm in Delaware

Probably no member of the Delaware legislature is a more dedicated stooge of industrial polluters than Rep. Debra Heffernan. So, by the perverse logic of the General Assembly, it makes sense that House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf would have made her chairwoman of the House Natural Resources Committee, the better to attack natural resources from the […]

Commentary: The legacy of nuclear power is checkered at best

Forty years ago, on March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 2 nuclear power reactor in central Pennsylvania — about 95 miles northwest of Dover — partially melted down and experienced at least one explosion. Many of us living in Delaware at the time were very concerned about being downwind and somewhat downstream […]

COMMENTARY: Carper no friend of the environment

Responding to the July 17 story “Carper: Delaware choked by ozone pollution from nearby states, urges action by EPA.” I have known Tom Carper as congressman, governor and senator. He’s a skillful, hard-working professional politician who knows how to sell himself. He has an almost Trumpish ability to claim credit for doing the opposite of […]

COMMENTARY: Support DNREC’s efforts to regulate upwind power plants

Monday was an official Code Orange bad air day in Delaware. Bad air days occur often in Delaware, for example June 30, July 2 and July 9. Tuesday may also be an official bad air day. A Code Orange bad air day for ozone is also likely to be at least a Code Yellow bad […]

COMMENTARY: Time to ‘restore sanity to federal energy policies’

Fights over oil and gas exploration and production off the coasts of Delaware and New Jersey (sometimes called the Outer Continental Shelf) are nothing new — they go back decades. But, as he’s so good at, President Trump is converting a simmering issue into an crisis that urgently needs public resistance. It began with his […]

COMMENTARY: Strengthen, don’t gut, the Delaware Coastal Zone Act

The Delaware State News has a history of solid coverage of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act. Not the least was a detailed five-part series by Russ Peterson in which he laid out the history of the act as he experienced it. I was aware of, but not involved in, the controversies in the late 1960s […]

COMMENTARY: Dealing with a very bad air episode in Delaware

A quick summary of forecasts: Wednesday: Code Orange for ozone,Code Yellow for particles. Thursday: Official forecast: Code Orange, Green Delaware interpretation: Code Red (“unhealthy”). Code Red for ozone, Code Yellow for particles. Thus, the official forecast calls it Code Red but Green Delaware calls it Code Purple (“very unhealthy”). Friday and Saturday: The “Greater Philadelphia Region” […]

COMMENTARY: The Delaware City Refinery and a bad governor

I’ve written about the Delaware City Refinery so many times, over so many years, that it’s hard to believe more is needed. It’s tiresome to think about. It never ends. Yet here we go yet again. The refinery has operated under a number of owners beginning with Tidewater Oil. It started up in 1956 or […]

Commentary: Time to think about Delaware’s Peterson, Coastal Zone Act

Delaware’s a mess. The water is rising. We are a major destination for bomb trains. One of the most leaky and dangerous nuke power complexes threatens and pollutes the state and is trying to expand with new reactors. The air and water are polluted. The economy is stagnant and the political system corrupt. The public schools are under attack. The court system is openly dedicated to protecting corporate crime. A tale of woe, to be sure.

Some of it is self-inflicted, like the reopening of the mega-toxic Delaware City Refinery and the resulting routing of bomb trains to Delaware. Some, like global climate change and sea level rise, is mostly beyond the ability of Delaware to do much about. On the other hand, it could well be argued that little three-county Delaware has done way-out-of-proportion damage to the world, has been a damaging leader in the “race to the bottom.”

What is the cumulative damage to individuals and families done by out-of-control credit card “banks?” Would that have happened anyway, with or without Delaware’s shameful Financial Center Development Act? Would so many electric ratepayers been screwed over so much without the hundreds of Enron subsidiaries incorporated in Delaware? Maybe they would have just been set up somewhere else. Would there have been so many bogus bankruptcies and stolen pension plans? Would the US, or the world, be in better shape without Delaware? Alternative history can’t be much more than speculative, but there is a case to be made.

Is it possible to imagine a better Delaware? A place to be proud of rather than ashamed of? A Delaware, for example, where John Kowalko is Speaker of the House rather than Pete Schwartzkopf? A pace where the University of
Delaware symbolizes intellectual freedom rather than civil liberties violations and the worship of capital at the expense of labor?

Well, yes, actually. There have been better leadership and better political times in Delaware, within my memory.