Lawmakers eye new industry in protected Delaware coast zone

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Lawmakers have introduced a bill to open parts of Delaware’s environmentally protected coastal zone to heavy industry.

The legislation introduced Thursday establishes a permitting process for new use of 14 existing heavy industry sites, most of them abandoned and polluted brownfields.

The bill also would allow the currently prohibited transfer of bulk products such as oil and minerals at nine sites that had docking facilities or piers before the Coastal Zone Act was enacted in June 1971.

Supporters of the bill, including Gov. John Carney, say it could spur manufacturing and job creation.

The bill would not allow certain heavy industry uses that did not exist in 1971, including oil refineries, paper and steel mills, incinerators and liquefied natural gas terminals. The Delaware City oil refinery would remain grandfathered.

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