The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced Oct. 4 the initiation of the process to amend Delaware Coastal Zone Act regulations to incorporate the provisions of the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act (HB190).

Gov. John Carney signed HB190 into law Aug. 2. The act authorizes DNREC to issue permits for construction and operation of new heavy industry uses at 14 existing heavy industry use sites within the state’s Coastal Zone. Permits for conversions will require an assessment of the environmental and economic impacts of the proposed conversion. The act directs DNREC to develop and promulgate regulations for the issuance of conversion permits by Oct. 1, 2019. This process focuses strictly on the conversion permit.

On Sept. 28, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin signed an internal start action notice, officially starting the regulatory development process.

To meet this goal, DNREC has contracted with the Consensus Building Institute to conduct initial stakeholder interviews and to develop a framework for a collaborative regulatory development process.

At the conclusion of this initial phase, DNREC will establish a Regulatory Advisory Committee who will be tasked with helping to draft proposed conversion permit regulations. To ensure a wide representation, the RAC will be composed of stakeholders including regulated parties, large and small businesses, organized labor, communities, conservation and environmental organizations, regional and local government and other affected persons.

RAC meetings will be open to the public and posted on the statewide meeting calendar. DNREC also has created a webpage where interested parties can find information on the conversion permit regulation activities.

The webpage includes a link to the remediation status baseline report on existing heavy industry use sites that was completed and delivered to the governor and the General Assembly, and links to the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act and Regulations Governing Delaware’s Coastal Zone.

The public can also sign up for a listserv by sending a blank email to dnrec_coastal_zone@lists.state.de.us to receive periodic updates on the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit regulatory process.