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Friday, February 10, 2017

Ind. Gov't. - "Pence vetoes effort to limit environmental regs"

That was the headline to a March 24, 2016 story in the Indianapolis Star, reported by Tony Cook. The story is relevant again because yesterday (see this ILB post from earlier today and this one from yesterday) the Indiana House overrode last year's veto. If the Senate also overrides it, and only a majority vote is required, HEA 1082-2016 will become law.

The ILB was among many who applauded this veto by Gov. Pence in 2016 as one of his best decisions. For why, here are some quotes from reporter Cook's 2016 story:

Gov. Mike Pence has vetoed a measure that would have prevented state environmental standards from being stricter than federal requirements.

"With this veto, Hoosiers can be assured that we will continue to have the necessary discretion and flexibility to create Indiana solutions at the state level and act in a timely way to protect our drinking water," Pence said in a statement.

Advocates of House Enrolled Act 1082, commonly known as the "no more stringent than" bill, argued that it was needed to protect businesses from overly aggressive environmental regulators. But opponents said the measure would handcuff the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and prevent the state from reacting to environmental and public safety threats. They often cited the water contamination crisis in Flint, Mich., as an example of such dangers.

The measure would have prevented IDEM from setting any standards more stringent than federal rules until the end of the next legislative session. That would give lawmakers an opportunity to review any new, stricter rule.

But Pence, a Republican who has decried new greenhouse gas rules under the Obama administration, agreed with critics that the measure went too far.

"IDEM must have the necessary flexibility to take action to protect Hoosiers. House Enrolled Act 1082 restricts IDEM’s ability to act and imposes unnecessary delay in its rulemaking process," he said. "At a time when we must do all that we can to enhance public trust in the agencies charged with protecting our environment, this bill moves in the wrong direction and will therefore receive my veto."

Environmental groups praised the move, but worried the Republican-controlled legislature could override Pence's veto. That's uncommon but not difficult in Indiana, where the General Assembly can override a veto with a simple majority.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 10, 2017 10:05 AM
Posted to Environment | Indiana Government