University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

I.C.8. Issue Files -- Commerce, 1983-1992

+ Series I.C.8. -- Scope and Content Note
+ Series I.C.8. -- Contents List

Extent: 1 linear ft.

Boxes 31 - 32

Contents: Correspondence, meeting notes, floor statements, memoranda, drafts and final versions of bills and amendments, published reports, clippings.

Arrangement: Alphabetically by topic and sequentially within topic. Issues that have comprehensive coverage and are extensive in length, such as H.R. 4850, have been kept together as a subseries.


The Commerce subseries dates from the 101st and the 102nd congresses, 1990-1992, and represents files and reference material maintained by Carper's staff which focus almost exclusively on telecommunications topics. Included are files on such issues as cellular phones, caller identification, cable television, and children's television. The Norfolk Southern-Coastal Barge Transfer issue completes the series.

A significant portion of these files contains documents pertaining to the 1992 amendment of the Communication Act of 1934. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced this amendment, H.R. 4850, which was designed to address the performance of the cable industry and the development of the video programming market since the 1984 passing of the Cable Communications Policy Act. Intended to protect consumers from unreasonable rates by improving the cable industry's customer service practices, and by sparking the development of a competitive marketplace, H.R. 4850 attempted to provide customers with a stronger product while simultaneously promoting a more competitive market. President Bush's veto of the bill, which passed in the House and the Senate, was overridden by Congress.

A matter with direct consequences for Delaware is documented in the files pertaining to the Norfolk Southern-Coastal Barge Transfer issue. In the early 1980s, Norfolk Southern presented a challenge to Delaware's Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) by forcing the issue of being allowed to transfer coal between barges in the Delaware Bay, a procedure known as "topping off." The conflict went to court when Norfolk-Southern sued the state of Delaware for rights to coal transfer activities. The issue was of importance to Delaware and its right as a state to determine the kind of industrial activity it would allow along its coastal waters. In a letter to Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldridge, Carper iterated Delaware's right to enforce its Coastal Zone Management Act, which had in fact been approved by the Department of Commerce, the very agent then assisting Norfolk Southern in their case against Delaware. Carper questioned how Secretary Baldridge could allow this challenge to Delaware's CZMA when the Secretary himself had ultimately approved the state's CZMA. This issue highlighted a direct attack by a corporation on a state's right to control coastal activity on its own shores.

+ Contents List for Series I.C.8. Issue Files--Commerce

+ Return to Index Page for Thomas R. Carper Congressional Papers

+ Guide to Other Political Papers at the University of Delaware Library

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

citation and reference information:

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

1979 - 1993
(bulk dates 1982 - 1992)

Manuscript Collection Number: 399
Accessioned: Gift of Thomas R. Carper, 1992, 1998-1999
Extent: 84 linear ft. and oversize material
Content: Legislation, correspondence, reports, documents and publications, memoranda, speeches, photographs, audio-visual material, newsletters, news clippings, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1997 - December 1999 by Rebecca J. Altermatt with assistance from Rob Costello; edited by L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin.

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Last modified: 01/19/11
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