The GreenWatch Institute is a Delaware-based nonprofit company established in 1992 to provide grants in support of other environmental nonprofits in the Delaware River Watershed.
GreenWatch announced it is dissolving and has transferred its residual financial resources of $400,000 to two charitable funds at the Delaware Community Foundation. Resources will be used for watershed-based advocacy by the Mid-Atlantic Law Center in association with the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington, as well as for continuation of student environmental advocacy awards at the law school.
Since 1998, GreenWatch has distributed nearly $400,000 to 27 organizations, including support of legal action by the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center and the Delaware RiverKeeper Network; education efforts by the Delaware Audubon, Brandywine Conservancy, Delaware Nature Society, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Clean Air Council; water-quality protection projects by St. Andrew’s School and the Delaware RiverKeeper Network; and wildlife and habitat conservation efforts by Delaware Wildlands, The Nature Conservancy, and the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute.
Since 2000, GreenWatch has also granted more than $34,000 in scholarship awards to 49 students at Widener University Delaware School of Law to support environmental advocacy.
"GreenWatch's generous and important decision to create a permanent source of funds will help protect the Delaware River watershed from those who flout environmental laws. In addition, the funds will help train the next generation of environmental lawyers," said professor Kenneth T. Kristl, director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Widener University Delaware Law School, and executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center.
The clinic supervises senior law students in pro bono legal actions on behalf of the environment.
The center, established in 1998, is the region’s sole public interest environmental law firm.
The GreenWatch Institute was formed in Delaware as the result of a settlement in Delaware Superior Court with Keystone Cogeneration Systems Inc. in 1991, Shields v. Keystone Cogeneration Systems Inc. In that case, the Keystone company (now Logan Generating Plant) sought to build a pier in the Delaware Estuary to unload coal for its fossil-fuel fired power plant in Salem County, N.J.
This required a permit from the State of Delaware under its landmark 1971 Coastal Zone Act. Environmental organizations and landowners concerned about adverse environmental effects to water quality and rare species brought a lawsuit.
To settle that lawsuit, the company agreed to implement numerous environmental safeguards, allow compliance monitoring, and establish a trust fund for the benefit of the Delaware Watershed managed by GreenWatch.
The funds will also support the clinic’s ongoing compliance monitoring at the Keystone Facility.
“While this closes an important chapter in the life of the GreenWatch Institute, our work is not over. We hope individuals, corporations, and partners that value the beauty and services the Delaware River watershed provides will offer their support to the Delaware Community Foundation, directing their donations to the GreenWatch Institute Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund established by the GreenWatch Institute,” said Brenna Goggin, board chair of GreenWatch.