I wrote this Citizen’s Guide to assist citizens of Delaware who want to advocate effectively about environmental issues and concerns. The Guide seeks to provide general information and advice that will help Delaware citizens understand how the process works and ways to craft a message that can affect the decisions that give rise to those concerns.
The focus of this Guide is the State of Delaware’s processes for making decisions about environmental issues. While there are other processes and actors that play a role in some decisions (for example, county zoning processes), they are beyond the scope of this Guide. While it does not cover everything, a significant volume of environmental decision-making happens at the state level. As a result, understanding how the state processes work, the general details of where, when, and how you can participate, and some strategies for making that participation as impactful as possible—the goal of this Guide—can help citizens be effective advocates for their environment.
This Guide consists of four chapters that serve two distinct roles. Chapters 1 and 2 describe how the state environmental processes work. This includes a general overview of how the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, or DNREC, operates, the main programs that DNREC oversees and the environmental decision-making processes in those programs, and the procedures for public participation in the decision-making process. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on suggestions for how to advocate effectively within those Delaware processes.
Given the scope of this effort, I designed the Guide to provide general information so that citizens can understand. It is not, and should not be viewed as, legal advice. When dealing with a particular situation, you should consider consulting an attorney (especially if it involves appeals or other legal processes). Nevertheless, I hope the Guide helps you understand the processes so that you can ask an attorney informed questions and have a sense of how the process will work.
I want to thank the Inland Bays Foundation for asking me to undertake this project as part of their John Austin-Bill Moyers Citizen Advocacy Program. Having worked with John and Bill—who were very effective citizen environmental advocates themselves—it is an honor to undertake this effort to inform citizens and encourage effective advocacy. I hope this guide lives up to their legacy.
Professor Kenneth T. Kristl, Esq.
Professor of Law
Director, Environmental & Natural Resources Law Clinic
Widener University Delaware Law School