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Sussex Republicans call for hearing on stormwater regulation

Delaware Public Media

A group of downstate Republican legislators is calling for a fast-tracked hearing on a DNREC rule requiring developers to craft stormwater runoff plans before starting construction.

The regulation was tossed out last month by a Superior Court judge, who said the agency hadn't followed public process in implementing the law. But he didn't indicate what to implement instead -- so DNREC has put the same rule back on the books on an emergency basis.

That's led to confusion for regulators, legislators and especially Sussex County residents, says Rep. Ruth Briggs-King of Georgetown.

With this hearing, she says she wants to ask DNREC "exactly what regulations, today, are you enforcing and are you requiring -- and then what is your plan going forward, what proposed changes will you make either to the changes or to the process for adopting a regulation?"

She's asking the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee to hold a special hearing in the coming weeks to hammer out the details of the new regulation and what any changes mean for developers.

"We certainly have many projects up in the air," she says. "Are we going to have to redesign to an old standard, or can we hold to the new, or -- I think we're just hearing that there's confusion. And what we should try and do is provide clarity."

She says it's especially relevant for builders of major poultry house projects currently in the works -- where regulatory delays can be costly.

She says she's not sure yet if they'll call for more changes to the law -- but they want to clear up what's currently on the books and what it means for developers as soon as possible.

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