Thursday, April 20, 2017
Ind. Decisions - No Ind. federal or state appellate opinions posted today
Ind. Gov't. - Update on: List of enrolled acts received by Gov. Holcomb
The Governor's Bill Watch page shows a number of new enrolled acts have been delivered and await his action.
Among them is HEA 1369:
Unnecessary, unused law reports. Requires every state agency to compile and report to the legislative council a list of all state laws administered by the state agency that the state agency considers to be in need of change because the laws are no longer necessary or used.ILB: I wonder if this includes laws made unconstitutional by various federal court rulings that remain on the books?
Environment - The importance of US EPA and IDEM
"East Chicago residents lay out demands ahead of visit by EPA head Scott Pruitt" isd the headline to this lengthy story yesterday in the NWI Times (via IED) reported by Sarah Reese.
A later story, by Sarah Reese and Lauren Cross, is headed "UPDATE: EPA's Pruitt visits East Chicago; agency denies regional office closure." It begins [ILB emphasis added]:
EAST CHICAGO — EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit Wednesday to the city’s contaminated Superfund site was marked with rallying cries from protesters denouncing proposed budget cuts under President Donald Trump’s administration and demanding better protections from polluted air, dirt and drinking water.From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's editorial yesterday:
But Pruitt said he hoped his visit to East Chicago’s USS Lead Superfund site — his first to any Superfund site in the country — would be the first step of many in “restoring confidence” in a community grappling with a legacy of toxic industry.
“Please know that it is the EPA’s objection, my objective as the administrator of the EPA, to come in and make sure people’s health is protected here in East Chicago, and that they can have the confidence that their land, their health is going to be secured for the long term,” Pruitt said during a brief media statement outside of the former Carrie Gosch Elementary School — shuttered last summer amid fears of lead contamination.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is “committed to doing that … in a very efficient and effective way,” Pruitt said.
Pruitt did not offer any details as to how EPA’s federal headquarters would restore such confidence during his 90-second speech, after which he refused to take questions from reporters. The briefing, held inside the elementary school gates, was closed to the general public, and reporters were required to RSVP ahead of time or show proper identification to enter.
Thanks to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and U.S. Sens. Joe Donnelly and Todd Young, the environmental woes of East Chicago residents are getting the heightened attention they deserve.
The site of a former lead-smelting plant was declared a federal Superfund cleanup project in 2009, but last year the government discovered that lead and arsenic poisoning were still imperiling hundreds of nearby residents. Holcomb declared the area an emergency site and earlier this year offered state help in relocating residents.
Thursday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is scheduled to visit, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has accepted an invitation from Donnelly to visit the site, as well.
East Chicago is also dealing with elevated lead levels in its water related to aging lead pipelines.
The northwest Indiana city's problems are vivid reminders of why the state's anti-pollution watchdog, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, needs to be robustly funded and staffed.
Environmentalists have long expressed concern that IDEM's staff and budget are inadequate to its task. According to the Hoosier Environmental Council, staffing levels and appropriations for the agency have shrunk by 17 percent over the past decade.
Now, as the Trump administration prepares to make deep cuts in the EPA's resources and regulatory authority, it's important that IDEM have adequate support.
Vacancy On Supreme Court 2017 - Press coverage of yesterday's JNC nominations [Updated]
"Three judges recommended to replace Rucker on Indiana Supreme Court" reports Dan Carden in this NWI Times story. Some quotes:
INDIANAPOLIS — Justice Robert Rucker, a Gary native, will be succeeded on the Indiana Supreme Court by a county judge hailing from either the northeast, central or southeast region of the state."Boone County judge among 3 Indiana Supreme Court nominees" is the heading to this very brief Indianapolis Star story.
On Wednesday, the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission unanimously recommended to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb the three candidates it believes are best suited to serve on the five-member high court.
They are: Clark Circuit Judge Vicki Carmichael, 54, of Jeffersonville; Wabash Superior Judge Christopher Goff, 44, of Wabash; and Boone Superior Judge Matthew Kincaid, 46, of Lebanon.
Kincaid was a finalist last year for the Supreme Court seat that went to Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, a Crown Point native. Kincaid also is a law school graduate of Loyola University Chicago.
This year's other two finalists did not list any connections to Northwest Indiana in their applications.
"Three Finalists Chosen For Supreme Court Opening" is the heading to Brandon Smith's WBOI NPR story.
"Carmichael selected as Indiana Supreme Court judge nominee" reports the Clark County News & Tribune.
"Kincaid among three finalists for Supreme Court seat" write Elizabeth Pearl for the Lebanon Reporter. The story begins:
For the second time in a little over a year, Boone County Superior Court I Judge Matthew Kincaid is one of the three finalists for a seat on the Indiana Supreme Court.[Updated at 10:55 am] "Rep. Washburne not chosen as Indiana Supreme Court nominee," reports Kaitlin L Lange in a story for the Evansville Courier & Press.
Kincaid, along with Wabash County Superior Court Judge Christopher Goff and Clark County Circuit Court Judge Vicki Carmichael were chosen from 11 candidates by a Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission will forward the final three candidates' names to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who will have 60 days to make an official appointment for the seat.
Kincaid, who also made it to the final three in March 2016, said the consideration is an honor.