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Delaware unemployment rate ticks up in August

From: Delaware Business Times

DOVER – Delaware’s unemployment rate rose 10 basis points in August after five months of minimal decline, as the First State bested the national trend only slightly, according to state officials.

August also saw job gains of 1,900 add to nearly 7,000 jobs created since February – although those figures are not seasonally adjusted, accounting for the discrepancy in the rise of the overall rate – and Delaware added 100 more jobseekers to continue pushing its record-high labor force over half a million, according to the monthly report released Friday morning.

The labor force captures not only workers and those receiving unemployment benefits, but also those in search of work who aren’t receiving assistance. As workers stop seeking work, for a variety of reasons ranging from retirement to child care needs, they are no longer counted as being unemployed in the state.

Delaware’s July unemployment rate rose to 4.5%, but was still significantly higher than the national average, which also rose 20 points to 3.7%.

Delaware ranked tied for 47th in unemployment rate among states in August, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. It has fallen behind New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania, which ranked 36th, 43rd and 44th at 4%, 4.2% and 4.3%, respectively. Minnesota had the lowest rate of 1.9%, while New Mexico and Alaska tied for the highest at 4.7%.

The Delaware Department of Labor’s report is taken monthly during the calendar week that contains the 12th day. The state recorded 23,200 unemployed last month, an increase of 100 people over June.

The official monthly unemployment figure is created by looking at continuous unemployment insurance claims as well as a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics survey of residents on their employment status. It tracks not only those receiving benefits, but also those who are ineligible, such as terminated employees, those who have resigned and the self-employed, who only became eligible for assistance under a special federal program established under the CARES Act.

The state’s three counties saw differing rates of unemployment in July, with New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties reporting rates of 4.6%, 5.7% and 3.9%, respectively – although those statistics aren’t seasonally adjusted. Wilmington and Dover, the state’s two most populous cities, have seen an even greater impact in job losses, where 6.8% and 7.2% of workers were unemployed, respectively.

The largest monthly job gains came in government, which added 1,000 jobs last month, followed by education and health, which added 600 jobs; the transportation, trade and utilities sector, which added 300; leisure and hospitality, which added 200; and the professional and business services sector, which added 100.

Leading the job losses was construction, which lost a total of 200 jobs, followed by the information sector, which lost 100.

Earn It to Get It: Breaking the Cycle of Dependency Through Work

From: The Foundation for Government Accountability

Far too many Americans are trapped in a cycle of welfare dependencyand it’s by design. Decades of bad government policies have staged the latest war—the “war on work.”

The pandemic is largely behind us, and life is essentially back to normal—but the public health emergency persists, which means work requirements for programs like food stamps remain suspended. Welfare programs disincentivize work and, throughout the pandemic, ended up paying more in benefits than many jobs. Now, unsurprisingly, businesses across the U.S. are struggling to fill open positions—with a record-breaking more than 10 million jobs unfilled in 2022—and Americans are struggling.

Work is empowering. It gives a person a sense of accomplishment and independence, and it brings opportunities. One Missouri organization is helping empower individuals to move from welfare to work to pursue fulfilling work and live self-sufficient lives.

In the summer of 2000 James and Marsha Whitford opened Watered Gardens, a non-government-funded ministry dedicated to empowering individuals to break the cycle of dependency by leading them to a path to self-sufficiency. The Joplin, Missouri organization offers programs and guidance to low-income individuals to help them be part of their own solution and lead them away from the unemployment line and into the workforce.

Whitford first found his calling to help others working as a physical therapist. While working with patients to gain mobility, he found that if he did not challenge them to work to improve, it was difficult for them to move forward.

James found that what his patients needed then was not so different from what struggling individuals need now—the encouragement and resources to break free from the cycle of dependency through work. “It’s so exciting to see people take a step away from dependency and into flourishing life,” Whitford says.

Empowering others through work

James and Marsha’s vision to empower others to become contributors to their own upward mobility has proven successful. Watered Gardens has helped many individuals find purpose through work by helping them gain the skills necessary to succeed through training programs, relationship building, and an “earn it to get it” mindset.

Here’s what staff and other individuals at Watered Gardens have to say about the cycle of dependency and the value of work…

Work is the textbook solution for escaping dependency.

“Challenge folks… incorporate, exchange, incorporate work. If we don’t do that, then they’ll never develop what is necessary to escape… poverty.”  –James Whitford, co-founder

Welfare programs do not create opportunities.

“The government robs you of the choices and the opportunities that you should have if you’re caring for yourself… Not contributing impacts me mentally, so I feel certain that for folks who don’t have that as part of their life, that has to be a key component to how they feel about themselves, about their value, and their worth.” –Beth Zimmerman, Director of Care Coordinator

Welfare programs employ classic bait-and-hook tactics.

“To get help with housing, you’ve got to sign up for food stamps first… and it becomes a little bit of a hook.” -Doug Gamble, Outreach Center Director

Welfare disguises itself as a safety net.

“I’m a generational welfare recipient… I was on government assistance… so I had all this stuff… It was my security net, but I didn’t know that I was capable of employment.” –Jocelyn Brisson, Shelter Director

Welfare and dependency can become a way of life.

“I never realized that I could be somebody. I now have the opportunity to study, to grow, to learn, and how to build healthy relationships.” -Tony Sutton, Forge Student

Escaping the cycle of dependency can be difficult.

“I didn’t think that I’d be able to hold a full-time job ever again, and then four weeks ago, I got my first full-time job cleaning houses… I get to go back and be a functioning adult that has self-worth and value again. That is an amazing feeling.”  -Misty, Watered Gardens participant

Through organizations like Watered Gardens Ministries, low-income individuals and families can find purpose through compassion, work, and a sense of responsibility.

To learn more about how welfare reforms can help Americans break the cycle of dependency and experience the power of work, visit our Welfare Reforms page.


Why Wilmington’s Climate Change Plan is Bad for the City – Part 2

Part I focused on the plans by Resilient Wilmington and the State of Delaware to address the impacts of sea level rise by focusing on limiting carbon dioxide emissions within the State.  These plans are based on bad science – carbon dioxide is not a magical climate control “thermostat” and attempts to limit such emissions will have virtually no impact on sea level rise – as well as being bad environmental policy – the economic effects will be potentially devastating to the State’s economy.  But if sea level is rising and coastal communities are threatened by tropical storms and nor’easters, what prudent response should Delaware be taking?

First, we must not be spending taxpayer money on so-called “solutions” that will have no positive effect on Delaware; on the contrary, such “solutions” will adversely affect our economy.  For more than a decade, Delaware has participated in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade scheme that focuses on subsidizing wind and solar energy and penalizing participating states for using fossil-fuel-based energy sources.  David Stevenson of the Caesar Rodney Institute has shown that RGGI has caused our out-of-state electric demand to increase from 22% to 64% in just the last five years, and it may reach 100% as early as 2024.  

This leads to lost local jobs, decreased tax revenues statewide, and higher electric rates with lower reliability.  Delaware’s participation in RGGI is the most significant force that keeps us focusing on reducing greenhouse gases.  Thus, Delaware must terminate its participation in RGGI.   Anything that makes energy more expensive and costs jobs to Delawareans is anathema to making Delaware better.

Mitigation and adaptation are the keys to addressing sea level rise and climate change, in general – not the red herring of cutting greenhouse gas concentrations.  And all of this starts with education so that all participants and those with vested interests understand the problem and are equipped with viable solutions that will affect a positive outcome.  It is a strange and very human flaw that newfound solutions always seem to leave behind common sense and traditional approaches.  The latter are almost always more effective and less expensive.

Our longest tide gauge record on the East Coast lies in The Battery in New York City.  Its record extends more than 165 years and indicates that sea level rise in lower Manhattan has risen steadily and consistently at a rate of about 1.14 inches per decade.  In Delaware, the rate has been 1.48 and 1.42 inches per decade at Reedy Point and Lewes, respectively.  As discussed in Part I, sea level rise in Delaware is greater due to extreme coastal subsidence in the mid-Atlantic region.  This, of course, has nothing to do with carbon dioxide levels and the rate of sea level rise will not be affected by reducing them.

The bigger threat to Delaware is coastal erosion from normal beach processes, which are exacerbated during times of storms (i.e., tropical storms/hurricanes and nor’easters).  Delaware’s Atlantic coast is a barrier island that is constantly being reshaped by coastal processes.  During storm periods with high wind and waves, these coastal processes and its concomitant coastal erosion are accentuated.

Consider the Cape Henlopen Lighthouse.  Completed in 1767, it was located at least 1500 feet from the ocean.  The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) has documented changes to the Delaware coast  since the mid-1850s showing that Cape Henlopen has become more elongated to the northwest and thinner (along the Atlantic coast) over time.  This erosion led the Cape Henlopen lighthouse to fall into the ocean in April of 1926 during a nor’easter.  Almost a century later, the location where the lighthouse once stood is now several hundred feet offshore.

The loss of coastal areas from natural sea level rise, coastal subsidence, and storm-induced erosion is, therefore, a fundamental problem in Delaware.  Coastal communities such as Bethany Beach, for example, regularly require beach replenishment by the expensive process of dredging sand from offshore to rebuild an eroded beach.   Prior to 2009, a discussion was begun to decide what to do about the expense incurred by beach erosion in Bethany.  Should the state continue to pay for beach replenishment, or should it simply allow nature to take its course and cede the boardwalk and then Atlantic Avenue, when the time comes?  If we decide to fight the natural process of erosion, then who should pay for it?  Residents who live there?  Tourists who enjoy Bethany during the summer?  Citizens of the State because what benefits Bethany Beach also benefits the State’s economy? Or should there be an equitable sharing of the cost among these three entities?

But before that discussion could get underway, then Governor Markell appointed Collin O’Mara as his DNREC Secretary.  Secretary O’Mara, who was the creator of San Jose’s “Green Vision” – a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by enhancing economic growth through investment in green energy boondoggles.  O’Mara brought Bloom Energy to Delaware, where the State and its energy ratepayers have lost almost $500M to create less than 400 jobs.  Through the Bloom Energy fiasco, natural gas has been redefined as a “renewable energy source”, but only if consumed in a Bloom Energy fuel cell – even though the process releases greenhouse gases into the environment.

But O’Mara’s statewide emphasis on solving our problems by addressing climate change, derailed the discussion of what to do in Bethany Beach.  According to O’Mara, if Delaware greatly reduced its greenhouse gas footprint, the rise in sea level would be “solved”.  The science was blatantly ignored by Delaware’s leaders and the loss of our beaches through a long-term, natural trend in rising seas, coastal subsidence, and coastal erosion during storm events was to be addressed by reducing our greenhouse gas footprint.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Coasts are eroding and being inundated over time, but the process has nothing at all to do with carbon dioxide emissions.

Moreover, this affects a variety of different types of businesses and people from all walks of life in all parts of the State.  Along the Atlantic Coast and the Inland Bays, it affects those affiliated with the summer tourism industry and many of the more affluent who can afford to buy and build on land along the coast.  In the Delaware Bay, it affects seasonal fishermen, boaters, and bird watchers who enjoy the annual migration of the many bird species that pass through the region.  In New Castle County, industry and businesses in the cities along and affected by the Delaware River are affected.  From diverse populations such as those living in Bethany Beach, Slaughter Beach, Kitts Hummock, New Castle, and Wilmington, much of Delaware will be affected by sea level rise in the coming decades – and the impact will be completely unaffected by our greenhouse gas footprint.

Since reducing greenhouse gases in Delaware will have no effect whatsoever on our climate or on sea level rise, what should a prudent response strategy be?  We need to return to science and adopt scientifically defensible solutions.  Education of the true causes in sea level rise are necessary to allow citizens to understand the problem.  A true discussion among all parties with vested interests must be begun to decide where we should fight natural processes and protect our interests and where we must adjust to these natural processes.  As suggested earlier, adaptation and minimization of the direct impacts of coastal processes are the keys to addressing sea level rise – cutting greenhouse gas concentrations are expensive “non-solutions” that will have virtually no impact.  But, most importantly, all of this starts with education so that all participants and those with vested interests understand the problem and are equipped with viable solutions to affect a positive outcome.

                                           ABOUT A BETTER DELAWARE

A Better Delaware is a non-partisan public policy and political advocacy organization that supports pro-growth, pro-jobs policies and greater transparency and accountability in state government. A Better Delaware can be found on Facebook @abetterdelaware and at www.ABetterDelaware.org.

Pennsylvania’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Relies on Faulty Data – Why RGGI is a “solution in search of a problem”

From: CO2 Coalition

The Governor and other officials have relied heavily on the state’s Climate Action Plans and specifically on the 2018 Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan3 in order to support their claims of current and future devastating impacts of continued CO2-driven warming. Assertions in the Climate Action Plan are refuted by the analysis of Gregory Wrightstone, Executive Director of the CO2 Coalition and an expert reviewer for the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 6th Assessment Report (IPCC – AR6).

Because of DEP’s flawed climatic analysis, the agency’s predictions of drought, flooding and other extreme weather events have no scientific basis.


DEP’s projection of increased flooding is contradicted by data from the Ohio, Allegheny and Susquehanna rivers that show a decline in the size of flood crests in the last 100 years even though the average precipitation has increased by three inches. Although Governor Wolf makes much of Susquehanna River flooding in 2018, that event ranks 31st in the list of greatest floods at Harrisburg and only slightly more than half of the magnitude of the 1972 flood from Tropical Storm Agnes. The IPCC says it “can discern no connection between a modest increase in temperature and any change in flooding worldwide.”


A DEP projection of more drought is unsubstantiated by data showing decreasing aridity in Pennsylvania over the last century while the climate warmed slightly during the period.

Heat Waves

A DEP projection of more heat waves is contrary to data showing a peak in the country’s hot weather occurring in the 1920s and 1930s before CO2 levels began increasing following World War II.

Health Risks from Pollution

DEP’s projection of health risks from air and water pollution are inconsistent with data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency showing double-digit percentage decreases in pollution. Air and water today are cleaner than in more than 100 years and getting cleaner every year. According to the EPA, nationally, concentrations of air pollutants have dropped significantly since 1990.

Flooding in Southeastern Pennsylvania from Rising Sea Level

According to DEP’s Climate Assessment, Delaware River Basin communities (including Philadelphia) can expect more frequent flooding and associated disruptions due to sea-level rise that presumably is caused by anthropogenic warming. Fortunately, historical data suggest that is unlikely.

Global sea levels have been rising for over 200 years, long before humans began adding prodigious amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere in the mid-20th century, and oceans are likely to continue to rise whether RGGI is adopted or rejected. Having successfully already adapted to possibly as much as two feet of sea-level rise over the last two centuries, Philadelphia — with modern technology and capabilities — can expect to easily adapt to the projected six to eight inches of rise between now and 2100.

Agricultural Damage

DEP predicts damage to Pennsylvania agriculture, but actual data shows improvements in farm production. Pennsylvania is no different than most of the rest of the globe, which is benefiting from a moderate rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide and natural warming. Over the last 50 years there have been increases in the length of growing seasons and crop production and an overall greening of Earth.

RGGI’s Flawed Use of Climate and CO2-Emission Models

Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Senior Fellow for the CO2 Coalition and Competitive Enterprise Institute and Past President of the American Association of State Climatologists, found that all but one of 102 computer models used in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP’s) Climate Action Plan “failed dramatically” in representing how the climate behaved in the past. He suggested that it would have been preferable for the state to have used the one model that more accurately reflected past climatic conditions than to have averaged the results of all 102 irrespective of their accuracy.

In addition, the Pennsylvania analysis uses a CO2-emission model that assumes an unrealistic increase in the use of coal that exceeds some estimates of the quantity of recoverable coal reserves. Correcting for the state’s reliance on flawed analyses reduces the predicted warming by 2050 to less than two degrees Fahrenheit from the state’s projection of 5.4 degrees.

Even if Pennsylvania were to reduce its emissions from electricity to zero, Dr. Michaels says any reduction in temperature or in sea-level rise would be too small to measure.
The Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan report, which serves as the basis for Governor Wolf’s RGGI proposal, needs to be dramatically revised, and should no longer be used as the basis for any policy proposals in its present form, concludes Dr. Michaels.

RGGI’s Flawed Economics

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposal to enter RGGI will be economically damaging and provide no environmental benefits, according to a June 2021 analysis by David T. Stevenson, Director of the Center for Energy & Environment at the Delaware-based Caesar Rodney Institute. The findings are consistent with what Mr. Stevenson found in a 2018 peer-reviewed report published by the Cato Institute.

Mr. Stevenson’s recent analysis says the Wolf administration’s 2020 “Pennsylvania RGGI Modeling Report” predicts economic and environmental benefits on the basis of flawed assumptions. For example, emission reductions are likely overstated in the modeling report because Pennsylvania reductions in fossil fuel use will most likely be replaced by fossil fuel power plants in other states as electric generation and demand from energy-intensive manufacturing shift away from Pennsylvania.

“The assumptions used in the report are flawed as are the forecasted outcomes,” said Mr. Stevenson, author of more than 100 analytic reports. “Using information learned from the decade-old RGGI program it is clear emissions will not be reduced globally, electric rates will rise, and there will be billions of dollars of economic damage if Pennsylvania joins RGGI.”

Mr. Stevenson projects tax losses of $282 million from the economic damage to exceed the $261 million in estimated receipts from the sale of emission allowances. The losses break down as follows: $92 million in corporate income taxes, $102 million in personal income taxes and $88 million in utility gross receipts taxes.

According to the 2018 Stevenson report, RGGI had no effect on carbon dioxide reductions — nor any supposed health benefits when other factors are considered: the effects of regulatory and market forces and the quantity of emissions exported to other states by the importation of power into RGGI states.

The conclusions of the Stevenson report include the following:

  • RGGI does not lower global emissions. Any cuts in Pennsylvania will likely show up in other nearby states as electric demand is expected to remain constant across the region.
    Pennsylvania — now a large exporter of electricity — could lose as much as $2 billion a year in electricity sales to other states at a cost of 1,400 jobs in electric generation.
    Lost coal and natural gas production could total $1.1 billion a year at a cost of 3,500 jobs a year.
  • Based on the experience of RGGI states, higher electricity prices from Gov. Wolf’s carbon tax could result in a loss of approximately 17,000 jobs in the energy intensive manufacturing sector.
  • Total loss to the Pennsylvania economy from the state’s participation in RGGI could be as high as $7.7 billion a year and more than 22,000 jobs, with the economic loss between 2022 and 2030 over $50 billion.
  • There would be a net loss in tax revenue as the estimated $261 million generated by the sale of RGGI emission allowances would be more than offset by $282 million lost in lower collections of the corporate income tax, personal income tax and utility gross receipts tax.


Consequences of The Quest for Zero Carbon

From: Thomas Jefferson Institute For Public Policy

Virginians may be finally waking up to the consequences of the headlong rush to adopt utopian energy policies under our previous governor. The issues are getting more attention than ever before, and now people need to realize all the issues are really just one issue.

  • A California regulatory board’s decision to ban new gasoline vehicle sales by 2035 is finally being widely reported as binding on Virginia. This has angered many but was actually old news.  Under a 2021 Virginia law, our Air Pollution Control Board had already imposed the future sales restrictions, and it was some new amendments that sparked the news coverage.   Various political leaders have now promised to stop it but a bill to reverse it died in the 2022 General Assembly when Democrats rallied to save the mandate.
  • Our dominant electric utility has finally acknowledged that its planned $10 billion offshore wind facility is a gigantic financial risk and is now refusing to build it unless the State Corporation Commission (SCC) places 100 percent of the construction and performance risk on its customers.  Dominion Energy Virginia knows many things about this proposal it has not told us.
  • Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) is trying to remove Virginia from an interstate compact that mandates a carbon tax on electricity, imposed under former Governor Ralph Northam (D).  Advocates for the tax are pushing back and will fight, delay and likely sue to preserve the tax, which costs Virginians $300 million per year at current levels and will continue to rise.  Without explanation, the Governor did not keep his initial promise to promulgate an emergency regulation that could remove it quickly, so the tax lingers.
  • Governor Youngkin has opened the process for developing a revised statewide energy plan document, a political process to produce what in the past has been merely a political document.  The public comment portal has already become an ideological showcase. Northam’s 2018 plan had no engineering or economic detail.  It simply praised the legislative efforts to erase fossil fuels which had been adopted to that point and outlined the next steps his administration would take (couched as recommendations.)

Legislation also signed by Northam demands that the Youngkin plan now address far more issues in that plan than Virginia has addressed to date, issues not raised in the 2018 document.   He is required to produce a plan:

that identifies actions over a 10-year period…to achieve, no later than 2045, a net-zero carbon energy economy for all sectors, including the electricity, transportation, building, agricultural, and industrial sectors.

That instruction is not highlighted on the website about the new planning process, which merely mentions “environmental stewardship.”  Yet if the plan fails to chase net-zero to the satisfaction of those who claim carbon dioxide is an existential threat (rather than just plant food), expect additional litigation.

That state law is the common thread running through all pending issues, and also wraps around the rising energy prices for your home and car and business.

The Virginia General Assembly, during the short period of total Democratic control, voted narrowly to bind the state to California’s aggressive effort to remove gasoline and diesel vehicles.  It did so in line with that overarching policy imposed by the code, and that mandate is what needs to be examined, debated and considered for repeal along with the auto regulations.

The Virginia General Assembly, during that same short period, voted to require Dominion to propose the offshore wind installation, a risky expense that would never be considered reasonable and prudent otherwise, as the SCC itself has implied.  Again, the justification is compliance with that net-zero policy demand, based on claims that failure to act is a path toward some onrushing climate catastrophe.

The carbon tax under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative is justified as a means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions but has the added attraction of raising dollars that politicians can then dole out with ribbon cuttings and press releases.  If Virginia were to reverse the underlying policy and decide a net zero economy is neither possible nor desirable, RGGI is clearly just another tax and spend regime.

The debate as Virginia approaches its next round of legislative elections in November 2023, should be about that net zero statutory mandate and the evidentiary claims behind it.  The offshore wind boondoggle, the abdication of sovereignty to California, and the RGGI tax are all trunks growing off that one taproot.

If the root remains embedded, if that law remains on the books, then what has been going on in the electricity and transportation sectors will expand into mandatory building code restrictions and the elimination of natural gas, heating oil and propane as common fuels. The net-zero vision for agriculture includes the elimination of many fertilizers and limits on production of livestock.  If you doubt that, read about what is going on in Sri Lanka and The Netherlands.

Imagine Delaware with no in-state electric power generation

From: Caesar Rodney Institute

Delaware generated 78% of its electricity in-state a decade ago, but it will likely be down to 33% this year.  By 2023 it may be close to zero!  That means lost jobs, lost state and local tax revenues, higher electric rates, and possibly lower power reliability for Delaware. The demand for electricity hasn’t changed, so what is happening?

A hidden tax is driving the change.

In 2009 power companies had to start buying allowances to emit carbon dioxide for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which passed on as a hidden cost added to electric bills.  At first, the allowances only cost a few dollars per ton. The electricity wholesale prices were higher than today. However, the latest auction price was $13 a ton. That means Delaware natural gas power plants have to bid 20% to 30% higher than average to cover the tax, so they lose the bid and don’t generate power.

Delaware’s lone emitting coal-powered plant in Millsboro must bid 40% to 60% higher in prices as it emits twice as much per unit of power as natural gas. NRG Company has announced a plan to close the facility next year. It only operates about 15% of the time and can’t cover the overhead.

The graph below shows how generation goes down at natural gas-fired power plants as allowance prices rise with a very high correlation of 0.83 (0 is no correlation, and +/- 1 is perfect correlation). The trend shows generation may go to zero if allowance prices rise to $16 a ton, which could happen as early as 2023. The RGGI organization forecasts prices as high as $24 a ton by 2030. How long before those natural gas-fired facilities close?


Now you might think closing carbon dioxide emitting power plants is a good thing.

However, generation simply shifts to power plants from other states that emit as much or more carbon dioxide, especially when long-distance electric transmission losses are considered (0.43 tons/MWh compared to 0.48). Delaware has the second highest rate of transmission losses at 11%.

Perhaps you prefer wind and solar power?

Did you know Delaware has been mandating wind and solar power in addition to providing subsidies for both for over a decade? In 2021, the mandate required 21% power from wind and solar, increasing to 40% by 2035. So far, 90% of the wind and solar mandate is being met with out-of-state generation, with only 2% of electric demand met by in-state solar. At night, when it’s cloudy, and in winter, when solar power drops 40% compared to summer, reliable power is needed for backup.

Rooftop solar and offshore wind are three to four times as expensive as utility-scale solar and existing natural gas and coal-fired power plants. Importing power adds cost to cover the greater transmission distances and congestion at key transmission sub-stations.

The loss of in-state electric power generation could lower Delaware’s GDP by $250 million a year in lost electric generation and natural gas sales compared to 2016. Well-paying jobs at the power plants would be lost, and reduced GDP has secondary impacts on the economy. Local power plants are needed to maintain voltage stability for reliability, and longer transmission lines could face more likely storm damage and outages.

Delaware has not considered the cost of its renewable power mandate or RGGI.

It’s time for Delaware to join Virginia in pulling out of RGGI. Some might argue the revenue the state receives from the sale of the RGGI allowances is too important to give up. There won’t be any revenue if all the power plants close.

The Virginia Public Utility Commission recently looked at the cost of moving to just 60% wind and solar power by 2035 and found electric prices would rise 60%. Using alternative assumptions, electric bills might actually more than double. Virginia’s Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin will likely review the law calling for that much wind and solar power. He has already announced he will withdraw from RGGI, which could save almost $60 a year on residential electric bills.

The 10 most polluted states in the US

From: The Hill

(NEXSTAR) — How clean are the air and water in your state?

Using 2021 data, U.S. News and World Reports’ feature on the “Best States” has ranked U.S. states on several metrics, including economics, education and health care. The listing also measures natural environment, which is based on a state’s air/water quality and pollution levels.

Pollution was determined based on air and water emissions from industry and utilities, and overall measures to long-term human health effects, using information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Below are the most polluted (no. 50-40) and least polluted (no. 10-1) in U.S. News’ Pollution Rankings.

States with the worst pollution

50. Louisiana

49. Nevada

48. Indiana

47. Delaware

46. Utah

45. Ohio

44. Oregon

43. Tennessee

42. Illinois

41. Alabama

40. Texas

Louisiana ranks dead last, coming in as the most-polluted state in the U.S., according to EPA information.

A January 2022 study by Tulane University found very high incidences of cancer in Louisiana, the second-highest in the U.S. At least 85 cancer cases per year in the state were due to exposure to high levels of air pollution, the study found. Authors included data for neighborhoods in an area between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, which is locally known as “Cancer Alley.”

The state of Nevada ranks as the second-most polluted state, according to EPA information. Just last year, Nevada ranked among the “unhealthiest” states for air quality in the American Lung Association’s State of the Air report.

At that time, Melissa Ramos, manager of the Nevada ALA’s Clean Air Advocacy, said the Classic Car loophole was partly to blame for the state’s high emissions. Under the state’s Classic Vehicle Insurance policies, vehicles bearing certain license plates are exempt from emissions testing. Some tightening of the laws on classic vehicles is coming Jan. 1, 2023, however.

The least polluted states

10. Idaho

9. Colorado

8. Maine

7. Rhode Island

6. California

5. Wyoming

4. New Mexico

3. South Dakota

2. New Hampshire

1. Vermont

The state of Vermont is aware of its relatively good bill of health.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources writes that “Vermont’s air quality is considered to be among the best in the nation.” The agency notes, however, that Vermont’s air is not pollutant-free.

Interesting: Even though California ranks sixth among the least polluted states, many of its cities rank among America’s most polluted. Research from the American Lung Association ranked cities by ozone pollution, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution. California areas that ranked in the ALA’s top 10 most polluted cities in all three pollution categories include Los Angeles-Long Beach, Bakersfield, Fresno-Madera-Hanford, and Sacramento-Roseville.


Six common air pollutants identified and regulated by the EPA are carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ground-level ozone, particle pollution (also called “particulate matter”), and sulfur oxides. Other air pollutants include asbestos, fuel oils and kerosene, and benzene.



Every state except Idaho and Michigan requires its elected officials and other significant policymakers to submit annual public financial disclosures. In Massachusetts, these disclosure forms are called Statements of Financial Interest (“SFIs”). Such disclosures are an essential tool for the public and press to protect against the potential intrusion of conflicts of interest into public policymaking.

Pioneer developed this data application to compare how states make these financial disclosures public.  The goal of this project is to encourage the public to demand that their states institute practices that will lead to greater transparency.  We applaud the nine highly-transparent states with perfect scores: Alabama, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia.

Pioneer ranked each state based on attributes weighted as follows:

Attribute: Weight
Proof of Identification of Requestor Not Required 30%
Agency Not Required to Notify Filer of Requestor’s Name 30%
Posted Online 10%
Posted Online and Free Open to View Without Establishing Account 10%
Requestor’s Name and/or Personal Information Not Required 10%
Filer Must Submit Disclosures Electronically 5%
Electronically Searchable Disclosure Form Available 5%
TOTAL 100%

We used a color scale to compare state scores with dark green being highly transparent and red meaning inadequate public access. You can hover over each state to view the detail of the scoring

The data is as of April 2019. Pioneer Institute intends to update this data annually.

Transparency advocates push for campaign finance reform

From: Delaware Live

With weeks to go before the first votes are cast in Delaware’s 2022 election cycle, advocates for government transparency are pushing for better campaign finance reporting.

Common Cause Delaware, a nonprofit group that lobbies for open, honest and accountable government, has called for more frequent and detailed reporting of campaign funds collected when candidates run for office.

“It’s common knowledge that people work for the person who pays them,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, executive director of Common Cause Delaware. “That’s how it often works in politics as well. Studies show that elected officials are more likely to govern in accordance with what their donors want than with public opinion.”

Under current law, campaigns are only required to file three spending reports: at the end of each year, 30 days prior to an election, and eight days prior to an election. If the candidate has a primary election, they’d file five reports.

Snyder-Hall wants to keep those reports, but also require candidates to file four additional quarterly reports.

“When voters are trying to decide who to vote for, one thing they can do is look at campaign finance reports to see who’s funding the candidate,” she said. “If a candidate receives a lot of money from police unions, for example, or teachers unions, that can say a lot about what they stand for, and voters have a right to know that information.”

Because everyday voters don’t follow campaign finance reports closely, having additional data and more time to disseminate it before an election will go a long way in improving transparency, Snyder-Hall said.

“It’s only 30 days until the election, and so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for people to be able to learn and digest that information,” she said. “Whereas if it was quarterly reporting, they would know earlier.”

Having quarterly reports would also level the playing field between candidates who have primary elections and those who don’t, she said.

For example, in Delaware’s 6th Senate District, there are two Democratic candidates: Jack Bucchioni and Russ Huxtable.

They are required to file their reports 30 days and 8 days before the Sept. 13 primary election, but Republican candidate Rep. Steve Smyk, who doesn’t have a primary challenger, won’t have to file his reports until 30 days and 8 days before the Nov. 8 general election.

“So voters now know who’s funding Russ Huxtable and Jack Bucchioni, but they don’t have any idea who’s funding Steve Smyk, because he doesn’t have a primary opponent,” Snyder-Hall said. “That gives him an advantage.”

Another way to increase transparency in elections is by requiring campaign contributors to reveal their employer and occupation when they donate to a campaign, said John Flaherty, board member with the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

That would increase transparency in two ways, Flaherty said. First, it would help identify instances where companies ask employees to donate to a particular candidate and reimburse them for their donation. That’s a way for companies to circumvent campaign finance laws that limit the amount one can donate to a campaign.

That’s not unprecedented in Delaware.

In 2011, Christopher Tigani, the former president of a major Delaware beer distributor, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than $200,000 in campaign donations by compelling employees, family members and friends to make donations, then reimbursing them.

The other way it would increase transparency, Flaherty said, is by showing donor trends. If a candidate has numerous donations from workers in the fossil fuel industry, for example, one could deduce that those employees feel that candidate is more friendly to fossil fuels.

“The public can then decide for themselves whether, in fact, that donation was meant for the candidate, or whether it was meant to help propel the interests of the company,” Flaherty said. “I think the more disclosure we have, the better it is when it comes to campaign finances here in Delaware.”

Donors are already required to reveal their employer and occupation when they donate to candidates for federal office and in 38 states across the country.

When a bipartisan bill was introduced in Delaware’s General Assembly this year that would have required just that, it died in the House Administration Committee after House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, raised objections.

“I don’t support this bill and I’ll tell you why,” Schwartzkopf said. “I don’t know what the problem you’re trying to solve is.”

He said pass-through donations like the ones Tigani pleaded guilty to are already illegal and House Bill 366 wouldn’t have stopped them from happening.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow, disagreed.

“I think it quite possibly could have helped catch that,” Morrison said. “When you’re looking through these reports, you will be able to see that, ‘Hey, this one employer, people from their company are donating over and over again, especially in $600 checks,’ which we don’t often see.”

Schwartzkopf said he also worries that in such a divisive political climate, employers could seek retribution against employees “because they donated to the wrong candidates.”

“There’s no protection for those people,” Schwartzkopf said. “They could be fired the very next day.”

Flaherty, Snyder-Hall and Morrison all say that’s bupkis.

“That doesn’t really make sense because you can already do that,” Snyder-Hall said. “If you were a business owner and you wanted to see who your employees were donating to, you know who they are, so you could just put their names in and search to see if they donated.”

Snyder-Hall said it’s no surprise the bill didn’t make it across the finish line.

“I believe it’s the wealthy interests that want to maintain their advantage and candidates who are receiving big money from certain industries that they don’t want publicized,” she said.

Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, agreed with Schwartzkopf.

“There’s a whole host of issues you have to follow up on with regard to the checks so you can make sure you comply with the current situation,” Short said. “I don’t know that it helps the cause of those that are trying to run any election, irrespective of who they are, irrespective of the party, to publish that information.”

Rep. Tim Dukes, R-Laurel, said he thinks it would be intrusive to have donors include their employer information.

“On the other hand, the person who challenges [that donation] could remain anonymous,” Dukes said. “I don’t think you should have it both ways, in my opinion.”

The bill was tabled in committee and never brought back for a vote. Because the legislative session ended June 30, the bill will need to be reintroduced in 2023.

“We’ll have to bring it up again next year,” Flaherty said.

Lockdowns Should Never be Allowed Again

From: Caesar Rodney Institute 

In the early days of COVID-19, Delaware’s Governor John Carney expressed his desire to avoid a legacy of being an example of “What NOT to do.” With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as his guidestar, he proceeded to do just that. Delaware’s economy has suffered some sectors deeply, particularly its students, small businesses, the healthcare sector, and the hospitality industry.
Delaware’s COVID-19 response began with an Emergency Order on July 24, 2020, fully three months following the peak of COVID-19 deaths, which has since been extended 26 times, some as “modifications.”
Despite there being no emergency, the Governor just renewed the order. Each renewal is time-limited, but no consequence for repetition. For the last year and a half, a “bill” requiring the Governor to get legislative approval to renew the Emergency Order stayed idle. The Legislature still has not considered this “bill.”
The original intent of a lockdown was to limit the spread of disease in order to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed, in particular, beds and intensive care unit utilization.
Neither problem happened. Neither the mask mandate nor the lockdown decreased the spread of COVID-19, as CRI’s Health Policy Center predicted.
Cloth masks are useless and have become a fashion statement, while paper masks merely collect bacteria from the wearer. Masks are the angstrom particulate equivalent of trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.
Lockdowns to prevent the spread of disease were discredited in the 7th Century with the Justinian Plague. The resurgence of these techniques is simply epidemiologic malpractice. However, the adverse consequences of these policies are undeniable.
For two years, our school-age children were denied an education and the socialization that accompanies in-person schooling.
This disproportionately injures those who cannot read, which would usually be 1st grade and below but in Delaware, that extends up to half of the third graders. Socialization of behavior defaulted to internet games, replete with violence and pornography. Marijuana, alcohol, drug use, and suicide attempts increased shockingly. Parents without childcare at home were relegated to computer babysitters and supervision.
The feared shortage of hospital beds never occurred.
The Christiana Care Center for Advanced Joint Replacement 30 beds specialty unit was commandeered for COVID-19 and never used. The population was terrified to seek medical care in a hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19. This attitude was widely prevalent among the disadvantaged and older population. People deferred routine medical care and are now sicker. The backlog of people waiting for elective treatment has risen.
The economy now broadly suffers from lockdown-induced supply chain issues severely hamstringing building and construction.
Both new and used automobiles are simply not available as inventories of many goods have dried up. When the government picks winners and losers, like you’re “essential” and “non-essential,” things go badly. How do the people feel about being told you’re “non-essential?”
Small businesses closed in droves. The hospitality industry and tourism simply disappeared. Restaurants closed or barely limped along with draconian ineffective regulations about masks, social distancing, and outdoor dining or takeout. Regulations on top of regulations is madness.
In short, there was no justification for a lockdown, and the desired result of slowing the spread and ‘bending the curve’ simply did not happen.
The health experts driving the policies focused on the number of new cases instead of the number of hospitalizations and their disparate impacts on older patients. The proven notion of herd immunity and natural immunity was laughed at. It was and still is an uninformed policy that yielded predictably bad results, however well intended.
Lockdowns should never be allowed again, and a thoughtful Legislature should temper the authoritarian mandate from a chief executive going forward in a timely fashion to prevent ongoing harm.