Last February, as the wind movement was picking up steam, Charlie Copeland made a strange statement supporting Delmarva power. Due to the public outcry at the time, he pulled back into his shell, and has been curled up there until now.

Sensing that it again was safe to stick his head out, he and a group of fellow legislators often seen with ring-in-nose tied to Delmarva’s Gary Stockbridge, have again tried to disrupt Delaware’s quest for energy independence. In a letter to Russel Larson, who serves as comptroller general, Copeland tries to intimidate with the following words. Pay attention to the tone:

that before you cast a final vote binding the GENERAL ASSEMBLY, you are obligated to return to the GENERAL ASSEMBLY for instructions as to how the GENERAL ASSEMBLY wishes to vote on the matter in question.

Sounds reasonable, so let is see what the law says, you know, House Bill No. 6, that I believe has Harris McDowell’s name on the sponsor list…..Fancy that.

So what exactly did the General Assembly pass into law that fateful day when they voted for House Bill No. 6 and started us down the hopeful path to a Blue Water Wind Farm off Rehoboth Beach?

Here is a copy for those purists who enjoy following along.

In my search I found absolutely no explicit instructions resembling those mentioned in the letter. In fact, the letter itself may be illegal because in itself, it violates the spirit of the law that was passed by a majority of the General Assembly. I certainly do not expect bumbling legislators to be held accountable for trying various options, (that is often what we ask them to do), but should they continue to attempt work against letter of the law, there is excellent ground for those forces supporting Blue Water Wind, to file a lawsuit restraining those perpetrators from doing so.

The law is clear. All power was given to the Public Service Commission to make the necessary actions. The General Assembly, almost acted as if it did not trust its own various elements of its own body, once the process was begun. The General Assembly passed the bill, and then washed its hands right afterwards. From the language of the Bill, it is quite clear that there was to be no wiggle room for lobbyists, at some future date, to change at whim this bill, once it had passed both houses and been signed into law by the governor…..

In Section 6, we see this:

(b) Subject to the approval of the Commission, the Standard Offer Service Provider to meet its electric supply requirements shall have the ability to:

“(1) enter into short- and long-term contracts for the procurement of power necessary to serve its customers; (2) own and operate facilities for the generation of electric power; (3) build generation and transmission facilities (subject to any other requirements in any other section of the Delaware Code regarding siting, etc.) (4) make investments in Demand-Side resources, and (5) take any other Commission-approved action to diversify their retail load. “

Obviously the same power that the commission holds over Delmarva in controlling its rates, also was intended to apply in the search for alternative sources of electrical generation.

Here is how one aspect of rate determination will be handled by the Public Service Commission:

“the Commission shall hold an evidentiary hearing on DP&L’s request and shall approve the request if the Commission finds that such action is in the public interest. If the Commission approves such a request, the Commission shall review all reasonable incurred costs of the contracts, facilities or programs in accordance with Chapter 1, Subchapter 3 of this Title. Costs from these projects which have been approved by the Commission shall be included in Standard Offer Service rates.”

So sets up this next statement. Obviously the crafters of the House Bill 6 and all those that enacted it into law, intended the Public Service Commission to independently search, find, explore, publicize, vet, and decide what was best for the citizens of Delaware. Here is the proof:

“3. The Commission shall have the authority to promulgate any rules and regulations it deems necessary to accomplish the development of IRPs by DP&L.

There is no mention anywhere that anyone is:

“obligated to return to the GENERAL ASSEMBLY for instructions as to how the GENERAL ASSEMBLY wishes to vote on the matter in question.

As we have seen, the above statement is in direct violation of the law passed in 2006. But if one probes hard and deep enough, he comes across this one line which mentions any reporting back to any government agency other than the Public Service Commission:

“Commencing in 2009, DP&L shall submit a report to the Commission, the Governor and the General Assembly detailing their progress in implementing their IRPs.”

There you have it. The only fingerhold within this bill that Copeland and Co. have a chance to disrupt the windfarm from going forward, says specifically, “IN 2009″ and ” D,P & L” (Delmarva) shall submit a report, letting them know how they are progressing, not Russell Larson.

The Delmarva posse has been exposed by the words of House Bill 6 itself. It is now clear to all that there is no legitimacy in the blatant attempt by a disfranchised minority leader to disrupt the natural trend of events, already set in motion by “the Commission“, which was, and still is solely responsible for finding, abetting, and approving Delaware’s future energy supply.

It would certainly be fitting if Delaware’s voters would remember in 2008 exactly who tried to set up Delmarva to rape them again a second time. If “politicians” are going to act “stupid”, they should be accountable to the price, right?

For the record:

Harris B. McDowell, III
State Senate, 1st District
Robert L. Venables
State Senate, 21st District
Charles L. Copeland
State Senate, 4th District
Gregory F. Lavelle
State Representative, 11th District
Gerald W. Hocker
State Representative, 38th District
Hazel D. Plant
State Representative, 2nd District

Obviously Delaware can do better.