We must be careful stewards of our precious natural resources, ensuring that we can leave clean air, clean water, and healthy, vibrant ecosystems to our children. We are blessed in Delaware with lands, waterways, and wildlife that continue to be a source of pride, including our coastal ecosystems and those of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Senator Coons is working with the rest of our state’s Congressional delegation to ensure that Delaware’s open spaces, waterways, and wildlife are protected so that they may be enjoyed by future generations.
Senator Coons’ environmental priorities include:
Advancing the Michael N. Castle Trail at the C&D Canal. The Chesapeake and Delaware (C&D) Canal is bordered by a stretch of flat, uninterrupted land, creating a unique and safe environment for recreationists. In 2004, former Congressman Mike Castle saw these assets as an ideal opportunity to enhance the canal’s existing resources by adding a recreational trail. Senator Coons has worked tirelessly since he came to the Senate to make Congressman Castle’s vision a reality. With the support of the delegation, the state, and the Federal Highway Administration, Senator Coons was in attendance as the Delaware Department of Transportation broke ground on Phase I of the trail in July 2012. In honor of Congressman Castle’s long-time support of trails in Delaware, Senator Coons and the delegation dedicated the trail to him, naming it the “Michael N. Castle Trail at the C&D Canal."
Promoting conservation and our sportsmen’s heritage. Senator Coons is a leading advocate for conservation programs that help protect wildlife and habitat, water quality, open space on agricultural lands, and access for hunters, fishermen, and other recreationists. Additionally, he is a cosponsor of the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act, which would secure permanent funding to protect land and waterways of state and national importance. Senator Coons is a supporter of the Migratory Bird Habitat Investment and Enhancement Act, which allows for an increase in the price of the Duck Stamp and subsequently greater revenue for conservation programs that protect wildlife habitat across the country. He is also a cosponsor of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which supports partnership efforts to protect habitat for waterfowl, fish, and wildlife.
Supporting the First State’s public lands. Senator Coons was proud to celebrate the creation of the First State National Monument in April 2013 as the 400th national park and the first in Delaware. The new monument commemorates the diverse history of the state and its role in the birth of the nation. The site includes the Dover Green, the Woodlawn property along the Brandywine River, and the New Castle Court House. Senator Coons is also the lead sponsor of the White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic River Expansion Act, which adds nine miles of Delaware and Pennsylvania’s White Clay Creek to the existing Wild and Scenic River designation at no cost to taxpayers. This bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent and now awaits action by the House. Delaware’s two National Wildlife Refuges – Bombay Hook in Kent County and Prime Hook in Sussex County – support thriving ecosystems and draw 200,000 hunters, fishermen, hikers and nature enthusiasts annually. Senator Coons supports the National Wildlife Refuge system and the important role that refuges play in sustaining our natural resources and economy.
Restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay and its watershed sustain millions of lives and jobs in our region. Yet the Chesapeake Bay is in decline, and Senator Coons knows we need to take significant action to restore its ecological health and sustain its vital role in our regional economy. We must ensure that the Chesapeake Bay watershed, including Delaware, can benefit from this natural resource for generations to come. This will require cooperation and effort from all stakeholders, including cities, suburbs, towns, and rural communities, as well as sustained investment from the federal government to ensure we can meet our goals.
Supporting clean energy solutions. Senator Coons believes we must invest in an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes clean energy solutions such as wind, solar, and biofuels that do not put the environment at risk. As we invest in growing a 21st century advanced manufacturing economy, we must focus as well on incentivizing clean energy manufacturing, of which Delaware is already an early leader.
Preparing for climate change. Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing our nation. To mitigate its impact, Senator Coons believes that we must act quickly to reduce the amount of global warming gases released into the atmosphere. At the same time, we must ensure that our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions provide opportunities for economic growth and do not stifle investment, innovation, and job creation. As we seek to reduce our carbon footprint, we must press our global competitors to do the same. As the lowest-lying state in the country, Delaware also needs to prepare for and adapt to the consequences of climate change that local communities are already experiencing, such as rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. We must continue taking steps to strengthen our resilience and reduce the costly impacts of droughts, storms, and flooding in our communities.