Environmental Bills To Watch In The 2020 Legislative Session

first_imgJanuary 9, 2020Members of the state legislature are at the Indiana Statehouse to begin their yearly session to vote on and amend bills that could become the state’s newest laws. EPA ORDERS ONLINE STORE TO STOP SELLING ILLEGAL PESTICIDES INDIANA CITY PART OF COALITION FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE More in Government JIM BEAM FINED FOR KENTUCKY BOURBON SPILL, FISHKILL Go to the home page EPA APPOINTS NEW REGION 5 ADMINISTRATOR TO OVERSEE INDIANA, SURROUNDING STATES FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharecenter_img SEE ALL IDEM BUDGET REDUCED BY $35 MILLION IN LAST DECADE REPORT FINDS EPA REDUNDANCIES ARE WASTING TAX DOLLARS Some of the bills introduced could have a direct effect on the state’s environment or help or impede Hoosiers from improving their own effect on the environment.Senate Bill No. 73Reports of potential violations to IDEMAuthor: Sen. James TomesSenate Bill No. 73 could eliminate the option for concerned Hoosiers to anonymously report potential environmental violations to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.Currently, IDEM gives users the option to omit personal information like name, address and other contact information when submitting a tip online, over the phone and by mail. That would change if the bill is passed.The bill would force IDEM to program their site to not allow the submission of a report to the department unless the name and address form fields are filled in, and allow IDEM to reveal the reporting person’s name and address to the subjects of the complaint. Senate Bill No. 6Electric vehicle supplemental fee.Author: Sen. Mike BohacekThe bill proposes continuing the supplemental registration fee for electric and hybrid vehicles. In its current form, the bill would allow the state to continue imposing a $150 supplemental registration fee on electric vehicles and $50 for hybrid vehicles on top of standard state vehicle registration fees.Senate Bill No. 33School City of East Chicago LoanAuthor: Sen. Lonnie M. RandolphFor the fourth year in a row, Sen. Lonnie Randolph introduced a bill that proposed the State of Indiana produce the funds to help East Chicago schools pay off a loan it received from the state to relocate students during the city’s lead crisis.Since the 1980s, state and federal agencies have found evidence of lead contamination in residential areas surround the USS Lead Superfund site. In 2016, just weeks before the start of the new school year, officials from the School City of East Chicago announced it would close Carrie Gosch Elementary after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials found parts of the property were contaminated with lead.The $3 million emergency loan was used to renovate classrooms and bathrooms at an abandoned middle school to convert it into the new, uncontaminated Carrie Gosch Elementary.Senate Bill No. 56Homeowners associations and solar energy systemsAuthor: Sen. Linda RogersThis bill would clarify which screening and preapproval powers homeowners associations in Indiana have over the installation of solar energy systems.Under the bill, HOAs could require homeowners thinking about installing solar power systems to provide more information about those systems before installation. The bill would also delineate HOAs more power to prohibit the installation or require system removal under certain circumstances, including if “a court” found the solar energy system threatens public health or safety or “violates a law.”If stipulations in the law are met, HOAs would not be allowed to prohibit the installation of solar power systems.Senate Bill No. 63State forest commission and management planAuthors: Sen. John Ruckelshaus, Sen. Eric Bassler and Sen. Greg WalkerThis bill would establish a state forest commission that would be tasked with making up a 100-year plan for the management of the state’s forests.If established, the commission would consist of two members of the general public chosen by the governor to serve as co-chairs, two members of the state senate and two members of the state House of Representatives. The commission would also include a governor-appointed commercial logging industry representative, environmental group representative, hunting/fishing representative, outdoor recreation representative, state forester, forest products industry representative and the commission director.Senate Bill No. 99Study committee on invasive speciesAuthor: Sen. Susan GlickThe bill forwarded to the Indiana Senate’s Natural Resources Committee urges the legislative council to assign an interim study committee to study issues related to invasive species.The study committee would have to examine the Indiana Invasives Initiative, an agreement between the Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management (SICIM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to establish small partnership organizations called Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMA) to manage invasive plants locally.The bill would also allow the study committee to investigate the possibility of making the Indiana Invasives Initiative a state agency.Senate Bill No. 104Designated wild areas in state forestsAuthor: Sen. Mark StoopsRetiring State Sen. Mark Stoops introduced a bill that would set declare 13 areas inside state forests “designated wild areas,” or protected areas where logging, herbicide use, vehicle use, and energy development and other disturbances are prohibited.The bill would include a designated wild area of at least 800 acres in each of the state’s 13 state forestsSenate Bill No. 145Office of outdoor recreation developmentAuthor: Sen. Blake DoriotThe bill seeks to establish an Office of Outdoor Recreation Development within the newly established Indiana Destination Development Corporation. The new office would work to increase outdoor recreation-based economic development, tourism, and ecotourism. It would also promote the growth of Indiana’s outdoor recreation economy and the health and social benefits of outdoor recreation.Senate Bill No. 147Campground mattersAuthor: Sen. Blake DoriotThe bill seeks to give campground owners the right to ask a campground guest to leave the property under certain circumstances like defaulting on fee payments, creating a disturbance that affects other guests and suspicion of violation of state, federal or local laws.The legislation would guarantee a guest’s refund of fees but would leave the guest open to criminal trespass charges if he or she does not comply with the request to leave.Senate Bill No. 193Prohibition of flavored e-liquidsAuthor: Sen. Ronald GroomsThis bill would ban the sale of “flavored e-liquid” to a person of any age in the state of Indiana and would also prohibit the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of those products in the state.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently banned fruit and mint flavored e-cigarette products while still allowing the sale of tobacco and menthol-flavored products.Senate Bill No. 214Testing of school drinking water for leadAuthors: Sen. Lonnie Randolph and Sen. Rick NiemeyerThis bipartisan legislation would require the testing of drinking water lead levels in every school building in Lake County at least once every two years.Lake County has been home to the heavy industry since the late 19th century and has a long history of environmental contamination. The county is home to seven Superfund sites, including the USS Lead Superfund site, a former lead smelter, and lead refinery.The site abuts commercial, municipal and residential areas, including at least one former school.Currently, the state of Indiana offers free lead sampling for public schools, but districts and individual schools can choose not to take part.Senate Bill No. 217Inspection of petroleum productsAuthor: Sen. Mark MessmerThe bill seeks to amend the Indiana Code concerning health by reducing the volatility levels of gasoline allowed to be sold in the state of Indiana.Volatility levels determine the evaporation characteristics of gasoline, which emit volatile organic compounds that are major contributors to ground-level ozone, also known as smog.Lower volatility levels usually result in lower emissions of those potentially harmful compounds.According to the EPA, 26 out of 46 Indiana counties that were monitored and 15 out of 17 monitored cities are experiencing more high level ozone days since 2015.Senate Bill No. 248Annual inspections of CAFOsAuthor: Sen. Rick NiemeyerThe bill would make IDEM conduct an onsite inspection of concentrated animal feeding operations at least once a year.CAFOs can provide a low-cost source of meat, milk and eggs, but can also negatively affect water sources and air quality.Currently, IDEM’s Office of Land Quality inspects CAFOs during the first six months after being populated, during a change of regulatory status and after a transfer of ownership. IDEM also states that visits are “conducted as needed depending on the issues identified.”Senate Bill No. 286Lead poisoning preventionAuthor: Sen. Jean BreauxThis bill reduces the amount of lead that needs to be detected in a person’s bloodstream in order to be declared an “elevated blood lead level.” Currently, an elevated blood lead level means a person has a blood lead level of at least 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood. The bill would reduce that amount to 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of whole blood.The designation allows the state to initiate “public health actions” that vary depending on a child’s blood lead levels, ranging from arranging additional testing to requiring property owners to immediately remediate the contaminated property.The bill also requires that a student only be allowed to enroll in a school after being tested for an elevated blood lead level.House Bill No. 1006Regulation of tobacco productsAuthor: Rep. Cindy KirchhoferHouse Bill 1006 proposes some changes to tobacco regulations in the state of Indiana. The bill would raise the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21 and raise increases the civil penalties for suppliers that sell tobacco products to anyone under 21.House Bill No. 1031The Lake Michigan shoreAuthor: Rep. Doug MillerIn 2018, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed that the Lake Michigan beach and shoreline up to the ordinary high water mark is publicly owned land open to recreational uses. House Bill 1031 proposes to add stipulations to that court finding to benefit private property owners along the Lake Michigan shore.The bill would change the boundaries between public and private land and would call for the state of Indiana to recognize the existence of private property below the natural high watermark. The bill also seeks to define “recreational activities” as activities where people take up space on the beach temporarily, eliminating lying on the beach, camping and other “non-transient activities.”House Bill No. 1039Inspection of petroleum productsAuthor: Rep. Jerry TorrThis bill is similar to Senate Bill 217. The bill seeks to amend the Indiana Code concerning health by reducing the volatility levels of gasoline allowed to be sold in the state of Indiana.Volatility levels determine the evaporation characteristics of gasoline, which emit volatile organic compounds that are major contributors to ground-level ozone, also known as smog.Lower volatility levels usually result in lower emissions of those potentially harmful compounds.According to the EPA, 26 out of 46 Indiana counties that were monitored and 15 out of 17 monitored cities are experiencing more high-level ozone days since 2015.House Bill No. 1099Low head damsAuthor: Rep. Ethan ManningThis bill would require the state’s natural resources commission to establish a roster of low head dams in the state that are capable of creating hazardous currents that pose safety issues.Low head dams create strong turbulence and recirculating currents that can push someone underwater. Indiana DNR currently has a map of the state’s low head dams, but the map does not note which dams are more dangerous than others.House Bill No. 1227Supplemental fee on electric and hybrid vehiclesAuthor: Rep. Carey HamiltonThis bill seeks to eliminate the supplemental fee on electric and hybrid vehicles implemented by the state. Currently, people who own electric vehicles must pay a $150 supplemental registration fee and hybrid vehicle owners must pay $50 on top of standard state vehicle registration fees.House Bill No. 1257Notice of environmental contaminationAuthor: Rep. Pat Boy, Co-author: Rep. Sue ErringtonThis bill seeks to make it mandatory for a person who causes a spill of certain substances to immediately report the spill to IDEM, the county’s health officer, water users downstream of the spill site, at least one emergency response agency and each park located in the county where the spill occurred.Responding agencies and the person who caused the spill must then make that information publicly available.The text of bills introduced during the legislative session often changes, and more bills will be introduced. We’ll keep you up to date. Environmental Bills To Watch In The 2020 Legislative Session ENEIAQUE SAENZ -INDIANA ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTERlast_img

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