Delaware Gov. Markell Signs Executive Order to Reduce Emissions and Help State Prepare for Climate Change

September 13, 2013

On Sept. 12, 2013, Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 41, “Preparing Delaware for Emerging Climate Impacts and Seizing Economic Opportunities from Reducing Emissions.

The order creates a Governor’s Committee on Climate and Resiliency, which will develop an implementation plan to continue Delaware’s reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and improve the state’s long-term resilience to flooding and sea-level rise. In addition, the order directs all state agencies to incorporate climate adaptation measures in the siting and design of state-funded projects.

“The science is clear: human activities are significantly contributing to climate change and accelerated sea level rise – and we must take action,” said Governor Markell. “Improving Delaware resiliency is not simply an environmental issue – it is essential to supporting a thriving economy and protecting the health and safety of our residents.  It’s going to take the cooperation and participation of businesses, citizens, county and municipal governments as well as regional and federal entities to improve Delaware’s resiliency and serve as a model for others to replicate.”

Executive Order 41 contains four components:

It establishes the Governor’s Committee on Climate and Resiliency (Committee), which is comprised of many key agency heads, including the Secretaries of the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Agriculture, Transportation, Health and Human Services, Safety and Homeland Security, and State, as well as the Directors of the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Delaware State Housing Authority, and the Office of State Planning Coordination.

It requires the Committee to develop an implementation plan to maintain and build upon Delaware’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The plan must ensure that reduction efforts have a positive effect on Delaware’s economy, focusing on approaches that:

  • Secure cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy
  • Improve public health outcomes
  • Increase employment
  • Strengthen manufacturing
  • Enhance overall competitiveness

It requires the Committee to develop actionable, agency-specific recommendations for improving Delaware’s resilience to climate impacts. These recommendations shall include, but are not limited to:

  • Prioritizing the use of natural systems and green infrastructure
  • Sharing best practices with local governments
  • Outreach to residents and businesses about risks and adaptation strategies

It requires that all state agencies incorporate measures for adapting to increased flood heights and sea-level rise in the siting and design of state-funded projects. This requirement applies to new construction and reconstruction of substantially damaged buildings and infrastructure.

The Committee must deliver both the implementation plan and agency recommendations to the Governor no later than December 31, 2014.
 
Governor Markell provided a keynote address at the Georgetown Climate Center’s State-Federal Workshop on Climate and Energy Policy in February, 2013 where he spoke about Delaware’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and prepare for climate impacts.

For more information on Delaware’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/climatechange/Pages/Climate%20change%20and%20Delaware.aspx