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Delaware environmental groups worry about Trump's climate change order

Courtesy of Trump campaign

Delaware environmental advocates are worried about what President Trump’s executive order reversing President Obama’s efforts to address climate change could mean for the First State.



The effects of Trump’s order won’t be seen overnight, but the Delaware Sierra Club’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Stephanie Herron said climate change and sea level rise are already affecting Delaware. The president’s move to dismantle Obama’s regulations, including rescinding a rule in place that reduces emissions from power plants, may only make things worse for Delaware, Herron said.


“We have roads and neighborhoods in Delaware that routinely flood now and when you look out to the year 2100, we’re looking at eight to 11 percent of Delaware being permanently underwater because the effects of sea level rise,” Herron said.


If sea level rise and poor air quality intensify over time, agriculture in the First State could suffer, Herron said.


“When seawater comes in or baywater floods onto agricultural fields, that’s salty water,” Herron said. “You can’t grow pretty much anything with salt water and with salty fields.”


Gov. John Carney (D) issued a statement Wednesday responding to Trump’s executive order, calling it a bad idea to halt efforts to combat climate change. Carney said more than 17,000 homes in Delaware are at risk of flooding and the damage that follows.


“The safety and health of Delawareans, our economy, and our natural resources are dependent not only on our actions as a state, but on a shared, urgent commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Carney said. “It’s a bad idea to abandon any tools that help us combat the real effects of climate change.”


Sen. Tom Carper (D) and Chris Coons (D) have joined 31 other senators in drafting legislation to overturn Trump’s executive order. Their legislation, the Clean Air Healthy Kids Act, would impede federal agencies from moving forward with anything stated in Trump's executive order.


“This extreme and reckless Executive Order leaves states, cities and businesses to deal with the damaging effects of climate change on their own,” Carper said, in a statement. “Delawareans see the impacts of our changing climate every day, but we can’t address this growing threat alone and we certainly can’t afford to do nothing. This order is irrational, and I will keep fighting it every step of the way.”


Senator Coons said Delaware supports clean energy policies to respond to the challenges sea level rise and climate change present.


“We must act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not allow the progress made over the last two decades to be stripped away,” Coons said. 


In response to the executive order, many environmental activists say they will attend the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. on April 29. Herron said the Sierra Club plans to be there.


The march urges action on global warming.