Judge says DNREC violated state procedure in implementation of stormwater rules
A judge has ruled that Delaware's environmental control agency violated state law in adopting new stormwater regulations two years ago.
Sussex County Superior Court judge T. Henley Graves ruled last week that DNREC didn't provide a detailed explanation of how to comply with new rules in advance of their implementation. That's required by the state's Administrative Protocols.
The case sets a precedent for others to sue over similar issues.
Developers had sued in 2013 over new stormwater and sediment rules that required them to submit runoff management plans for state approval before starting construction projects.
They said DNREC didn't provide technical specifications for following the new regulations when it adopted then, and Judge Graves agreed.
The judge's decision invalidates the stormwater regulations. In a statement, DNREC secretary David Small says "the litigation was based on procedural issues, not the merits of the requirements." He calls them a vital tool to preserve water quality and protect against flooding.
Small says DNREC is reviewing its options on how to proceed.