From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - May 5, 2023
The past two months have been an incredibly busy time for DCA’s government relations work. We put a premium on being in every important conversation and a part of making that happen is having relationships with public policy makers. Over approximately the past month, DCA has had its Legislative Hall Day, met with Governor Carney, held its 4th annual YEC Legislator Breakfast and recently had DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin as our keynote speaker for our first Policy Builder Breakfast of 2023.
Secretary Garvin, who is charged with leading the state’s environmental agency responsible for protecting and managing Delaware’s natural resources and public health spoke with a broad selection of our membership. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) impacts the construction industry in direct and indirect ways. Whether it’s the pace of processing permits, providing Erosion and Sediment Training, or implementing regulations governing how your companies get their projects accomplished, the agency has significant control over how construction gets done in Delaware.
Secretary Garvin covered a number of subjects ranging from the significant federal funds being provided to improve Delaware’s infrastructure to the Department seeking to embrace technology to enhance its processes. The topic that got the most attention was the Department’s consideration, at the direction of Governor Carney, to have Delaware adopt the third element of the California Clean Car Act. Delaware and Pennsylvania implemented two elements of this 3-part program almost a decade ago with states from Virginia to Maine already having adopted all three aspects of the program. This third portion called Advanced Clean Car II, requires phasing out the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles that weigh up to 14,000 lbs gross vehicle weight by 2036. Gas and diesel powered vehicles will still be allowed to be registered in Delaware provided they meet appropriate emissions requirements for their model year.
This Policy Builder Breakfast took place prior to the release of a package of seven environmental bills in the General Assembly intended by the sponsors to mitigate the impact of global warming. One of the bills is in line with the Governor’s ACC II initiative described above. It would require that all state-owned passenger and light-duty trucks be zero emission by 2040. Two of the package’s bills directly impact construction. HB 8, sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski, requires the state develop a system to allow for sustainability and carbon impact data to be considered when awarding public works contracts beginning 2025. HB 11, sponsored by Rep. Debra Heffernan, would require new commercial buildings with a footprint of 50,000 square feet or more to have a roof that supports solar infrastructure. HB 11 mirrors recently adopted New Castle County Ordinance 22-091.
There is a tremendous amount of activity impacting construction businesses taking place in the General Assembly, at county governance levels as well as through the Executive branch. If I send an email regarding Government Relations, it’s because the subject is important. I want you to know what I’m involved with on your behalf. I know you are busy running companies and getting Delaware built but your input is important to ensure I am conveying the full impact of public policies being considered.