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Coastal Zone Act


Delaware’s historic Coastal Zone Act has been in place since June 28, 1971. The Act recognizes that Delaware’s coastal areas are the most critical” for quality of life. It is the goal of the CZA to “protect the natural environment of [the] bay and coastal areas” and to “safeguard their use primarily for recreation and tourism.”  The Act limits new heavy industry uses and the bulk transfer of products in the Coastal Zone, and has protected the vast majority of Delaware’s coast since its inception. The Act states that heavy industry is incompatible with protection of the natural environment and that bulk product transfer presents significant danger of pollution in the coastal zone. HB 190, a bill that recently passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee, would drastically weaken the Coastal Zone Act and undermine its purpose by allowing for new bulk product transfer and increased heavy industry within the Coastal Zone.

HB 190 should be withdrawn because it is contrary to the Act’s stated purpose, and instead, the Delaware Legislature should:

  • thoroughly study the environmental and economic benefits of the Coastal Zone Act as it stands today,
  • consider how the Act as currently written could be implemented in a way that even more effectively serves communities, the environment and economic interests, and
  • include in this review a robust public process that well engages all aspects of Delaware’s communities.