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Friday, January 24, 2014

Environment - Still more on "No more stringent" rules limitation effort back again

Updating this ILB post from Jan. 22nd, the Louisville Courier Journal today has a long op-ed from Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, headed "Bill would weaken Indiana's environmental options." A few quotes:

The fact that nearly a decade and a half into the 21st century, our country still finds itself vulnerable to catastrophic environmental situations ought to be sobering. And it ought to be a strong message to the 2014 Indiana General Assembly, and its leaders, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long, as well as Gov. Mike Pence that Indiana should continually ensure that Indiana has the tools that it needs to head off environmental tragedies in our state and improve our public health.

Astonishingly, some legislators are advancing a bill that would move Indiana in reverse. House Bill 1143, benignly called “no more stringent than,” would weaken Indiana’s ability to head off environmental tragedies like those mentioned above by stripping away the power of Indiana’s executive branch, except potentially in rare circumstances, to develop policies that go beyond what the federal government enacts. * * *

For 20 years now, this very controversial bill has been introduced and has not moved forward in the Indiana legislature. And the leader who was crucial to stopping this dangerous bill was, contrary to some readers’ presumption, a stalwart Indiana Republican. But since this lawmaker has now retired, this bill is likely to get far less scrutiny as it moves through this short legislative session.

“No more stringent than” is dangerous for Indiana. We urge Hoosiers of all political persuasions to contact their legislators to oppose HB 1143 and any bills that may contain this language. And we hope that Indiana’s legislative leadership and governor will put safeguarding the health of Hoosiers above safeguarding rigid ideology.

ILB: The retired lawmaker referenced is Bev Gard, a powerful state senator who who chaired the Senate Environmental Committee for many years.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 24, 2014 09:17 AM
Posted to Environment