Superior Court: DNREC exceeded authority in issuing cease & desist on Kent salvage business


A Superior Court opinion ruled that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control exceeded its authority in attempting to imposea cease and desist order for a Kent County salvage business.

The case involved McGinnis Auto & Mobile Home Salvage in Clayton

DNREC cited the company for violations in 2015 at its operation that does demolition and salvage work on mobile homes that have reached the end of their useful lives.

McGinnis did not comply with the order and took the case to the Environmental Appeals Board, which ruled that the Secretary of the Department lacked the authority to enforce the cease and desist order. the order sought the removal of a pile of solid waste from the salvage work as well as a demand for records of mobile home demolitions dating back to the early 2000s.

DNREC had claimed that the statute allowed enforcement of the cease and desist order and took the matter to Superior Court. The department further argued that the power is need to deal with situations that pose an immediate threat to health and safety.

The opinion noted that the DNREC secretary has the authority to seek other measures such as fines and penalties. However, the ruling agreed with McGinnis that enforcement actions need to go through Chancery Court, Delaware’s civil court of equity.

The opinion comes as companies have long claimed that DNREC regulations are a factor in holding back plans to add operations or expand existing facilities. Others have claimed that DNREC gives violators too much leeway.

Click herefor the opinion.

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