Delaware governor signs wildlife protection bill

 (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

(AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

A new law will help Delaware identify and punish those who commit crimes against wildlife, further strengthening protections for Delaware’s natural resources.

Delaware is now a member of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, joining 39 other states. IWVC states share information and can access records about individuals who have lost their hunting, fishing and/or trapping privileges due to major offenses, like poaching. Based on what information is found, the state Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control can deny licenses to those who have committed crimes against wildlife elsewhere; in addition, violators in Delaware risk losing privileges in all of the other states. Governor Jack Markell, D-Delaware, signed the new protection law today.

“The work done to bring Delaware into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact reflects a concerted and productive effort in this year’s General Assembly to protect our natural resources,” said Gov. Markell.  

“We don’t want people who have shown a disregard for hunting and fishing laws doing the same thing here and threatening our wildlife,” said state Senate Majority Leader David McBride. A longtime champion of environmental causes, McBride sponsored Senate Bill 117. “With this information at the fingertips of the people who we’ve empowered to issue licenses, we’re taking a big step to keep that from happening.”

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“I have friends who signed on to a hunting trip with a professional outfitter who it turns out was kicked out of several other states for breaking their laws. The outfitter just went from state to state, breaking laws,” said avid hunter Rep. Trey Paradee, D-West Dover, another of the bill’s sponsors. “By having this law in place, we’ll be able to catch people like this. Hunters love this type of law because it keeps the bad elements out of Delaware and it’s good for wildlife.”

Natural resource protection

In addition to SB 117, during this just-completed legislative session, Gov. Markell signed four other bills that protect Delaware’s natural resources:

House Bill 95 gives DNREC the authority to hold people who contaminate state land and water accountable by imposing environmental liens on property owners to recover taxpayers’ money spent on cleanup costs.

House Bill 32 eliminates a 36-year-old monetary cap on liability for oil spills.

House Bill 41 builds upon existing state regulations and prohibits the sale and distribution of shark fins, showing the state’s commitment to ending the cruel practice of shark finning.

Senate Bill 65 consolidates clean water infrastructure financing responsibilities under one Water Infrastructure Advisory Council to make it easier for the state to take a comprehensive approach to keeping drinking water safe and enhancing wastewater and storm water systems.

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