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Monday, February 10, 2014

Environment - "A bill that has passed the Indiana House would limit the environmental rules state officials could impose"

That would be the "no more stringent" bill, HE 1143, last mentioned in this Jan. 29th ILB post.

More from Suzanna Couch's story today in the Gary Post-Tribune:

The limits would apply to any rule or standards passed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Environmental Rules Board; they could be no more stringent than any corresponding federal standard or rule set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bill passed the House 68-28 on Jan. 28.

Jesse Kharbanda, the executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, opposes the bill, saying it would prevent IDEM from dealing with issues the federal government fails to adequately address.

“The state executive branch would be barred from acting in a way that is more protective of public health,” Kharbanda said.

Northwest Indiana has several coal-fired plants with coal-ash sludge lagoons. Kharbanda said federal standards and safeguards governing those lagoons are not as good as they could be. This law would keep the state from taking action.

“There’s no reason, in short, to tie the hands of the executive branch from being respondent to the environmental challenges that are not adequately addressed by the federal government,” Kharbanda said. * * *

[Rep. David] Wolkins said if there is a situation where the state needs to step in and change federal standards, IDEM can use its emergency procedures to make a new rule exceeding the federal standard. However, he said he wishes the legislature would be in charge of surpassing federal environmental standards if needed.

“If we’re going to exceed federal regulations I would just as soon the legislature make that decision rather than an unelected bureaucrat,” he said.

ILB: See this Jan. 22nd ILB post that points out the fallacy of this "Emergency rule" argument.

See also this long list of posts on "no more stringent" efforts, dating back to 2005.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 10, 2014 09:06 AM
Posted to Environment