House Bill 190, the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act, Is Introduced

On May 18, Sen. Bryan Townsend and I introduced legislation that would create a conversion permitting process to allow for remediation and redevelopment of a limited number of abandoned heavy industry sites along Delaware’s coastline for industrial use.

Our proposal would set a high bar for planning, remediation, and regulatory control. New industries could employ hundreds, even thousands, of residents and broaden our tax base.

At the same time, our bill includes a lot of environmental protections. An interested industry would need to clean the brownfield, following the Delaware HSCA law and removing pollution from the site. A new operator also would have to show that it has the financial backing and available funds to complete any future remedial action.

A company applying for a conversion permit would also have to submit a sea-level rise plan. Additionally, refineries processing crude oil, basic cellulose pulp paper mills, and incinerators would continue to be forbidden, as they have been since the Coastal Zone Act was enacted in 1971.

I realize our proposal will evoke strong opinions, and we know that this is a complex initiative that will require significant discussions in legislative hearings.

I would ask everyone to read our release for more information (, read the bill ( and please contact me with ideas you have. We have met and talked with numerous groups, and I intend to have an open dialogue with anyone willing to have conversations about this legislation.

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