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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Bouchard Affiliates denied lightering request

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Nov. 13, 2009
Vol. 39, No. 448

For more information, contact Lee Ann Walling, DNREC Planning Section, 302-739-9006, or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Petroleum shipping company is denied request
for lightering operations in Delaware Bay

DOVER – Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin P. O’Mara has denied a New York-based shipping company’s request  to “lighter” oil in the Delaware Bay.

Bouchard Affiliates of Melville, N.Y., had requested a “status decision” under the Delaware Coastal Zone Act regulations, claiming that the company was conducting lightering operations in the Bay before June 28, 1971, the date the Act became law. Lightering takes place at Big Stone Anchorage off the Kent County coast, and involves transferring oil from ocean-going tankers to smaller barges so the petroleum product can travel up the Bay to refineries. 

Only companies that were lightering on that date are grandfathered under the law; otherwise, such activities are prohibited by Delaware’s Coastal Zone Act. 

In his letter to Bouchard Affiliates, Secretary O’Mara wrote that the company “failed to substantially support” its claim that it was lightering “before, on, or after June 28, 1971.”

“Your proposal would constitute the establishment of a new offshore bulk product transfer facility within the coastal zone, which is absolutely prohibited under the Coastal Zone Act and its implementing regulations,” the Secretary wrote in denying the request.

There is a 14-day appeal period following the publication of a legal notice on Sunday, November 15.  Anyone wishing to appeal this decision to the State Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board must do so within this timeframe. There is a $100 application fee.

The Delaware Coastal Zone Act Program regulates existing heavy industrial activities, as well as new and existing manufacturing activities in Delaware’s Coastal Zone through a status decision and permit process.  A status decision determines whether an activity is allowed by the Coastal Zone Act and can be permitted under its regulations.

For more information, visit the program’s website at

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