Thirteen bills addressing state environmental issues will likely never see the light of day. House Environmental Affairs Committee chair, Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville), said he won’t hold hearings for any of the bills assigned to that committee this session.
Gutwein said revised rules from the federal Environmental Protection Agency should be able to address concerns laid out in three of the bills — specifically coal ash pollution and lead in schools. As for the rest, he said there are some duplicate bills working their way through the Senate and others can wait.
“Anything that was extremely important we’ll do from the Senate. There was nothing that urgent in the House. So that’s why we’re going to wait, but the EPA stuff we’ll watch closely and make sure that they get their work done," Gutwein said.
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Indra Frank serves as the director of environmental health and water policy with the Hoosier Environmental Council. She said there are gaps in the federal coal ash rule — and this year coal ash is an especially urgent issue in Indiana.
Frank says some utilities have submitted plans to close their coal ash ponds that would put the public’s health at risk.
“In order to get, you know, the best protection of Indiana's water resources — this is a policy issue that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later," she said.
Frank said Gutwein expressed some interest in hearing the bill for information only — and she hopes that will still happen.
Tuesday is the last day the House can pass House bills out of committee.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.