By David T. Stevenson, DirectorCenter for Energy & Environmental Policy
NEWARK, DE (November 11, 2022) — Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Division of Air Quality, has started writing amended regulations to eventually ban new gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles from being registered in the state. You will be forced to buy electric vehicles (EVs), currently averaging $14,000 MORE per vehicle than conventional cars and trucks. The stated legal basis for amending existing regulations is the need to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
However, Delaware already meets the standard by a significant margin. DNREC’s Division of Air Quality will host a series of public hearings to review the DRAFT AMENDED regulations starting Tuesday, November 15. We encourage you to participate and make public comments to stop these regulations and protect your freedom of choice. Please see below for additional dates.
DELAWARE MEETS THE EPA’S NAAQS FOR OZONE STANDARD: LET’S SUBMIT A NEW APPEAL TO THE EPA TO BE IN “ATTAINMENT”DNREC’s Division of Air Quality points to a technicality that the EPA includes New Castle County in the greater Philadelphia “non-attainment area.” This argument doesn’t work, either. They recommended that the EPA allow New Castle County to be out of that regional assignment in 2017. The EPA rejected the recommendation as New Castle County was out of compliance in 2017, and evidence showed Delaware emissions were impacting upwind monitoring stations in the non-attainment area. Now the ten closest upwind monitoring stations are all meeting the ozone standard. Motor vehicle emissions in Delaware have fallen about 40% since 2017 and 80% to 90% since 1990. DNREC’s Division of Air Quality could submit a new appeal to the EPA to pull New Castle County out of the greater Philadelphia region, which would most likely succeed, and no EV mandate would be necessary. The EPA even admits being in “attainment is an economic development advantage as new source permits are easier to obtain.” New Castle County would benefit from such an advantage to expand existing businesses more easily and be more inviting to new businesses.
WE SUSPECT DNREC’S DIVISION OF AIR QUALITY IS NOT BEING HONEST ABOUT ITS REAL GOAL In a 2019 exchange with the EPA, DNREC focused only on the carbon-cutting benefits of EVs and made no reference to air quality benefits. Now, DNREC’s regulatory effort ignores the carbon-cutting impact. Governor Carney joined the Climate Alliance in 2017 along with seventeen other states, including a promise to follow California motor-vehicle-carbon emission rules instead of national ones. DNREC’s resulting Climate Action Plan, which includes an EV mandate, is clearly aimed at carbon-cutting. The state may find it wise to await the outcome of a robust legal challenge to California’s ability to write such rules. DNREC’s Division of Air Quality wrote its start of action notice in April 2022, hoping a bill (SB 305) would pass the Delaware legislature authorizing the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as an executive order alone will probably not survive a legal challenge. The bill failed in June 2022 as legislators noted it could lead to a ban on gasoline-powered vehicles and a ban on natural gas and propane hookups in new construction. After the bill failed, they began this regulatory process in July 2022.
DELAWARE HAS NO ACTION PLAN FOR OFFERING GRANTS TO OFFSET THE HIGH PURCHASE PRICE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES When California adopted the EV mandate, they began offering up to $14,000 in grants to lower-income people so they could buy an EV. There is no such companion action in Delaware. One estimate suggests the state needs to spend up to $100 million on subsidies on vehicles and chargers to meet the EV mandate. Over a quarter of families are already in energy poverty. How are they, and even middle-income families, to afford this? Between 2016 and 2021, in-state electric generation fell by 50%. Where is the electric power coming from to charge these EVs, and how much will electric rates increase? Fuel taxes fund highway construction and repair. How will road projects be funded?
PUBLIC COMMENT DATES: You can comment in person at public meetings on November 15 at 10 a.m., November 16 at 1 .p.m., and November 17 at 6 p.m. with details at this link https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/public-notices/public-workshops-draft-amendments-to-the-low-emission-vehicle-program/.
If you can’t attend, you can send public comments on Low Emission Vehicle amendments to Kyle.Krall@delaware.gov. For more detail and a list of references for this article, please follow this link: https://www.caesarrodney.org/pdfs/Public_Comments_on_Alternative_to_proposed_DNREC_EV_mandate2.pdf
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