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2023 – A Great Year!

As we look back on 2023, a lot has happened at A Better Delaware = all of it good!!

Kathleen Rutherford is forging a new path with her consulting company but remains engaged with us. Ethan Lang joined us as Executive Director and remained until he returned to school. He is now a senior at Dartmouth. We wish him the best and look forward to the exciting contributions he will make to our state.

We added several members to our advisory board, including John Marinucci, who retired from the School Board Association and has an excellent background in the dynamic, economic facets of education, as well as Beth Conaway, who served as a teacher and principal in Sussex County for number of years.

In April Jane Brady came on as a Co-Chair with founder Chris Kenny, bringing a number of years of experience in public policy and advocacy as well as a familiarity with the law related to many of the issues with which A Better Delaware deals. In September, founder Chris Kenny stepped back from the organization and Jane became Chair of A Better Delaware. Chris remains vitally interested in the well- being of our state, and we all hear from him regularly.

Our mailing list has grown, and frequently has had more than 10,000 people open one of our weekly emails. For the last three months, we have been publishing at least one comprehensive issue- based blog a week. If you are not receiving our email, we invite you to go to our website, www.abetterdelaware.org  and sign up!

We also established a membership program which will give our members, (for an annual fee), the opportunity to participate in Members Only briefings and discussions with our experts on the issues facing Delaware.

ABD’s newly launched Dinner and a Movie series has been a huge success! We offer organizations the opportunity to learn about the inspiring and successful effort of a single mom in Washington DC who advocated for her son and other children in the district to be able to attend better schools than those to which they were assigned. If you would like us to bring the program to your organization, let us know. The next showing is scheduled for January 22, 2024, at the Congo Legacy Center, located at 501 W. 28th St. Wilmington. You can sign up here.

We advocated against overreach by government. Together with the Caesar Rodney Institute, we advocated for a rational and science-based approach to wind power and fought back against the course that the state is taking which will increase costs to consumers and make the provision of power less reliable. And, again with others including CRI, we vigorously opposed legislation that would have required union contractors on all state construction contracts, making those jobs more costly.

As we look forward to 2024, there are many exciting projects we are preparing.  Our members-only speaking series, a podcast, expanded publishing and increased visibility.

We encourage you to join us. We offer substantive and researched information and advocacy on a variety of topics, including education, health care, workforce development, energy, taxes and fiscal policy, and government accountability and transparency.

We are constantly working to improve the lives of Delawareans, as well as the business and political climate here and to make your government more transparent and responsive to the views of you, the citizens it represents.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Board and Staff of A Better Delaware

Delaware Citizens to Become Californians

By: Hon. William L. Witham, Jr., Advisory Board Member, A Better Delaware

It would appear that Delaware is embarking on directly controlling the technological development of transportation for Delaware citizens. We may be faced, if the current Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) plans are adopted to be treated as if we are residents of California without our consent. I will not deal with the obvious legal issues with this concept since the rules in question are not the same ones unveiled for public comment and discussion under the state administrative procedures act. This fact may very well undermine the ability of DNREC to impose the proposed regulations.

DNREC seeks a goal for zero- emission vehicles by 82% by 2035. This is only about 11 years away. The plan is to have car manufacturers sell only emission- free vehicles by this date with only 18% allocated to traditional gas-powered vehicles. This seems to be an impossible task since this will cause an economic upheaval to say the least.

What is remarkable is that DNREC admits that thousands of Delawareans submitted comments, attended public meetings, and responded to polls and the result? The people have spoken – they oppose this radical agenda. Our tone-deaf DNREC bureaucrats say they are doing this for our own good – such hubris and arrogance cannot be ignored.

Increasingly, all Americans are rejecting the aim to electrify transportation, home heating, and all appliances and rely on power mostly generated by wind and solar. We all know for a fact that currently this is not possible without fossil fuels as backup for wind and solar. The most economically emission free fuel is nuclear, but the environmentalists refuse to consider this source. Despite pushing generous subsidies, EVs are piling up on dealer lots. Recently 3,881 car dealers signed a letter pleading with the President to back off on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate. Initially, there was great public interest in the new technology of electric vehicles.  They seem to work well for commuter buyers with short distances to travel with easy access to charging in garages overnight or at work with a second car, usually gas-powered for longer trips.

We are now learning of the myriad of problems associated with EVs. They are expensive to build and purchase, thus the governmental subsidies. They have a more limited range and greater weight than cars or trucks. Large trucks would require larger batteries, less space for cargo and go fewer miles, thus increasing the transportation costs for all Americans. Unreliability is a key factor. According to a study by Consumer Reports, many EVs are less reliable than gas or diesel engines or hybrids. They have higher repair costs. A battery replacement can cost over $20,000. They do not do well in accidents. On average, they cost 23% more to insure than gasoline- powered cars and when they catch on fire, it is burn, baby burn! The fires are very difficult to put out.

On average an EV with a sticker price of about $53,000, would cost about $100,000 without government incentives to the purchaser and manufacturer. The main reason you see these vehicles on the road is not because of a generalized consumer choice, but government mandates.

We have not touched upon the economic hardships that dealers, repair shops, supply chains, and trucking industries will face. With an 82% reduction of gas-powered cars by 2035, We do not have the necessary infrastructure to support the effort. Slow and inefficient chargers will not help. We will experience once again, long lines at gas stations in the 70s. The demand on our energy grid will increase and make electricity more expensive.

Automakers are already responding by cutting back on EV production. Ford revealed that its EV division posted a quarterly loss of $1.33 billion and lost $1.08 in the previous quarter. The same for GM. Their losses total $1.5 billion in profits this quarter. These losses will continue so long as our government enforces unsustainable mandates to implement fossil fuel-free or “net Zero energy systems. Delaware has yet to address the significant economic, societal, or environmental consequences of a near-total reliance on renewable energy and the required battery-backup that is necessary to transition to a fossil fuel free future.

Witham is a recently retired Kent County Resident Judge and has served over 40 years in Delaware’s justice system. He is also a former leader in the US Army Reserve and National Guard with 34 years of service.

 

EV MANDATES: NOT JUSTIFIED BY TECHNOLOGY OR REALITY

By: Jane Brady, Chair, A Better Delaware

There’s a lot happening in the world of electric vehicle (EV) mandates, so now is a good time to take a check on where we stand, nationally and in Delaware.

Recently, the day after the Governor of Connecticut revoked a mandate establishing deadlines for compliance with minimum sales and registration requirements for EVs in his state, Governor Carney signed an executive order adopting the recommended regulations from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) that impose such a mandate in Delaware.

This, despite the vocal and nearly universal opposition from the thousands of citizens who opposed the mandate. Despite the inadequacy of electric vehicles for long trips and hauling a trailer or RV. Despite the lack of infrastructure to support the consistent and reliable transmission of electricity to charge the vehicles, Despite the lack of availability of charging stations to charge EVs. Despite the cost.

The Governor of Connecticut conceded there was significant opposition to the mandate, based on the practical realities and yes, the current state of the science.

One of the most significant factors in public opposition to the mandate has been concern about being able to, literally, make it from here to there. Better infrastructure would give drivers more confidence that they would be able to find chargers along the route that would allow them to reach their final destination. And of course, do it in an efficient amount of time.

Recognizing that need, in 2021, Congress passed the infrastructure bill that included a $7.5 billion investment in electric vehicle chargers. Since then, not a single charger has been built. Zero. The objective was to have over 1 million public chargers available by 2030 to further the goal of the government that half of all new vehicles sold in the United States would be electric by that year. Some of the money has been authorized, but most states that have asked for grants to build the EV chargers have not yet let bids for construction and not a single charger has been constructed from those funds. It has been reported that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that to alleviate drivers’ anxiety about the range of EVs, the government would need to construct 25 million public charging units by 2030 with the cost greatly exceeding the number provided for in the infrastructure bill.

Part of the opposition to EV mandates is the cost, and they may have just gotten a lot more expensive. Many drivers who have purchased EVs have been motivated by the subsidies provided by the government, approximately $7500 per car. Recently, however, in response to outcry about the uneven application of the laws related to imported goods, the IRS and Department of Energy have proposed rules that would prohibit the subsidy for any EV with battery components assembled or manufactured by a “foreign entity of concern.” China has been designated as a foreign entity of concern and manufactures the overwhelming majority of electric vehicle batteries.

Absent the subsidy and facing increased costs of production if the batteries are manufactured in this country, demand will decrease. And, in a process that has been furthered largely by executive order both at the state and federal level, finally the peoples’ representatives might get a say. The US House of Representatives, just this week, passed the Choice in Automobile Retail Sales (CARS) Act, which would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing the rules it has adopted that would restrict or limit the types of cars American consumers can purchase.

Although the government, both the White House and the Governor, have consistently contended that there is a rapidly growing demand for EVs, the reality is that there is a great deal of hesitancy and strong public opposition to a mandate. Recent decisions by car manufacturers reflect that reality. Demand is not keeping up with expectations, forcing them to revise their EV manufacturing plans.

The Governor should abandon the mandate and explore promoting such options as hybrids and natural gas and allow the science and technology to develop to accommodate our citizens’ needs, while continuing to further his objectives regarding clean and green energy.

Jane Brady serves as Chair of A Better Delaware. She previously served as Attorney General of Delaware and as a Judge of the Delaware Superior Court.