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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Environment - "Right to farm" bill on its way to the Governor

Updating this post from Feb. 17th and this one from Jan. 28th, SB 186 is on its way to the Governor.

The ILB wrote at length about SB 186 in an important post on Jan. 14th, with a follow-up on Jan. 15th.

Niki Kelly's story today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports:

A bill recognizing agriculture and farmers’ rights passed the House 67-30 Monday.

Senate Bill 186 now heads to the governor for final approval.

The legislation says it is state policy to conserve, protect and encourage agriculture. But a second sentence construing the Indiana code to protect the rights of farmers has caused some concern.

Rep. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said many family farms, doctors and environmentalists oppose the bill.

“I think this bill is going much too far,” he said, saying it encourages judges to have a bias for farmers in lawsuits. “You already have a right to farm.”

But he and others don’t think that should mean a right to pollute the air and land.

Rep. Don Lehe, R-Brookston, said the bill simply encourages the production of food in a world where the population is growing and cost is a key concern for consumers.

Re the last paragraph, that objective, "to encourage the production of food," could have been accomplished with the passage a simple or concurrent resolution. Rather, look at one of the quotes in the Jan. 15th ILB post:
Dan Cole, a professor at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, said the bill’s language is ambiguous and could potentially result in a “tremendous expansion of the property rights of farmers, at the expense of property rights of non-farming neighbors and communities.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 25, 2014 08:39 AM
Posted to Environment