Gov. Carney in talks with Republicans after DNREC nominee blocked

Gov. John Carney talks in his office in Legislative Hall in Dover. (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Gov. John Carney talks in his office in Legislative Hall in Dover. (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Gov. John Carney, D-Delaware, is in talks with Republicans after senate members blocked a vote on his nomination for Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

On Wednesday, Republicans blocked the confirmation of Shawn Garvin, who most recently led the regional Environmental Protection Agency under the Obama administration. Now the position is in limbo until the legislature reconvenes in March.

“I tried to convince them he’s just the kind of leader we need to address some of the issues, and I think we’ll have more conversations about it,” Carney said Thursday.

Outgoing DNREC Secretary David Small will stay on until the issue is resolved in the spring.

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With a vacant seat in the Senate, the two parties split control with 10 members each. An 11th vote is required to confirm an appointment–and upon a tie, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Delaware, has the final say.

But State Sen. Dave Lawson, R-Marydel, left the building for what an aide called a “family emergency,” blocking that opportunity.

Republicans would not say their reasons for blocking the vote. But State Sen. Colin Bonini, R-Dover, said his personal opinion was that the Obama administration was anti-business.

Carney said Garvin knows how to strike the balance between allowing job growth and protecting the environment, knows how to tackle the state’s coastal zone problems and has numerous experience in the area of nutrient management, which is something the state is having challenges with.

“I think it’s surprising some members don’t know that, and I would think if they knew that better farmers and members of the Senate would be more supportive of his nomination,” he said.

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