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2021 Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources Bill Watch List

 

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (dead):

SB373: Carbon credit programs

Authors: Sen. Susan Glick (R), Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R), Sen. J.D. Ford (D), Sen. Eric Bassler (R), Sen. Shelli Yoder (D), Sen. Chip Perfect (R), Sen. Timothy Lanane (D), Sen. James Tomes (R), Sen. Blake Doriot (R), Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D), Sen. Jon Ford (R), Sen. Karen Tallian (D), Sen. Lonnie Randolph (D)

Sponsors: Rep. Don Lehe (R), Rep. David Abbott (R), Rep. Sue Errington (D), Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D)

Status: Died in Conference Committee

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Votes:

Description: 

Senate Bill 373 was significantly amended in the House Natural Resource Committee on March 30th. A dangerous amendment was added to the bill which threatened Hoosier property values, health, water supplies, and environment. 

 

The amendment does the following:

  • Forces Hoosier property owners to allow dangerous, highly-pressurized carbon dioxide waste captured from dirty manufacturing facilities to be stored long-term underneath their properties without their consent.
  • Grants eminent domain to private corporations with no requirement that they compensate private property owners for condemning their property.
  • Insulates the polluters from any liability associated with any problems which can occur as a result of storing highly pressurized carbon dioxide waste underground.

 

The potential risks related to the underground storage of highly-pressurized CO2 waste include:

  • The possibility of carbon dioxide leaking into our aquifers, poisoning our water.
  • The possibility of carbon dioxide migrating to the surface, causing asphyxiation because carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen and displaces oxygen.
  • The possibility of long-term underground storage of carbon dioxide increasing seismic activity

 

SB373 is being pushed by a privately-owned corporation known as Wabash Valley Resources who is claiming that they will develop the largest carbon capture and sequestration project (CCS) ever in the US. They opine that it is a climate change mitigation strategy, but the best way to mitigate climate change is to NOT produce carbon dioxide in the first place.

 

As introduced, SB373 promised to create Indiana’s first carbon market by providing incentives for private landowners to maintain their land as farms and forests and by encouraging Indiana companies to buy voluntary carbon offsets from the landowners and provide funding to the state’s Benjamin Harrison Trust to buy more public forest land in Indiana. However, in the committee hearing, the voluntary carbon market was stripped from the bill and turned into a study. 

 

Initially, Wabash Valley Resources intended to repurpose and expand the Wabash River Coal Gasification plant in West Terre Haute into a large-scale ammonia production facility. Now they are claiming they will repurpose the plant to produce hydrogen for energy production and other uses as part of the DOE’s Coal FIRST and Transformative Power Generation initiative. The stated mission of this initiative is to “Keep coal power generation in [the] mix beyond 2050.”

 

This is clearly another huge science experiment for which a private corporation wants to force Indiana property owners and taxpayers to assume liability and take on all of the risk. It makes no sense to open up the entire State of Indiana to the long-term storage of carbon dioxide waste.  CCS is a false solution to climate change that places the health, safety, and the pocketbooks of Hoosier taxpayers at risk. The State of Indiana needs to study this issue before passing any legislation related to the underground storage of carbon dioxide waste.

 

 

Bad Bills: 

 

SB389: Repeals state regulated wetlands law

Authors: Sen. Chris Garten (R), Sen. Mark Messmer (R), Sen. Linda Rogers (R), Sen. Scott Baldwin (R), Sen. Andy Zay (R), Sen. Jack Sandlin (R), Sen. Blake Doriot (R), Sen. Mike Gaskill (R), Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R), Sen. Liz Brown (R), Sen. Aaron Freeman (R), Sen. Eric Koch (R), Sen. Erin Houchin (R), Sen. Justin Busch (R), Sen. John Crane (R), Sen. James Buck (R), Sen. Chip Perfect (R), Sen. Philip Boots (R), Sen. Travis Holdman (R)Sen. Dennis Kruse (R), Sen. James Tomes (R), Sen. Jean Leising (R)

Sponsors: Rep. Matt Lehman (R), Rep. Doug Gutwein (R), Rep. Jeffrey Thompson (R), Rep. Alan Morrison (R)

Status: Signed into law by Gov. Holcomb

Position: CAC opposes this bill

Votes:

Description: Repeals the law requiring a permit from the department of environmental management for wetland activity in a state regulated wetland. Makes corresponding changes to eliminate references to that law. States that the repeal of that law is not intended to affect: (1) the regulation in Indiana under the federal Clean Water Act of the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the United States; or (2) the authorization of the state of Indiana to administer the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program.

 

 

Good Bills (all dead):

 

HB1014: Hazardous materials facilities near waterways (dead)

Authors: Rep. Carolyn Jackson (D)

Status:  Died in  the House Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the department of environmental management (department) to make quarterly inspections of a facility if: (1) one or more hazardous materials are present in the facility in more than a minimal quantity on at least 30 days per year; and (2) because of the physical proximity of the facility to a surface body of water, there is a substantial risk that a hazardous material accidentally released from the facility will enter the surface body of water. Provides that an inspection of a facility must determine whether the hazardous materials present in the facility are being stored and handled safely and whether reasonable steps are being taken to prevent releases of hazardous materials from the facility. Authorizes the department to delegate its investigation responsibility to an agency or department of a city, town, or county under certain circumstances. Requires the environmental rules board to adopt: (1) rules concerning the identification of facilities to which the inspection requirement applies; and (2) rules establishing requirements for the safe handling and storage of hazardous materials in facilities, the prevention of releases of hazardous materials from facilities into surface bodies of water, and the performance of quarterly inspections of facilities.

 

HB1087: Lead free plumbing products in school buildings (dead)

Authors: Rep. Earl Harris (D)

Status: Died in the House Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the governing body of a school corporation to ensure that every plumbing product: (1) acquired for installation in; (2) installed as part of; or (3) used in repairing or installing; the potable water system of a school building is lead free, according to the definition in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.

 

HB1129: PFAs in public water systems (dead)

Authors: Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D)

Status: Died in the House Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the state department of health (state department) to establish state maximum contaminant levels for PFAS in water provided by public water systems. Provides that maximum contaminant levels established by the state department: (1) must be protective of public health, including the health of vulnerable subpopulations; and (2) may not be less stringent than any maximum contaminant level or health advisory promulgated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

 

HB1151: Notice of environmental contamination (dead)

Authors: Rep. Pat Boy (D)

Status: Died in the House Environmental Affairs Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires a person who causes a spill of certain substances into waters of the state to report the spill immediately to the following: (1) The department of environmental management (department). (2) The county health officer of each county that may be affected by the spill. (3) A water user within five miles upstream and 25 miles downstream of where the spill occurred. (4) At least one emergency response agency. (5) Each park located in the county in which the spill occurred. Requires the department, the county health officer, the water user, the emergency response agency, and each park (entity) to: (1) post the information received about the spill on each entity's Internet web site; and (2) in a manner determined by each entity, make the information received about the spill available to the public. Provides that a county health officer who receives a report of a spill must notify: (1) each park located within five miles upstream and 25 miles downstream of where the spill occurred; and (2) news media in each county that may be affected by the spill. Provides that a person who fails to make the required report is liable for a civil penalty determined by the board. Provides that a person who knowingly or intentionally fails to make the report required by this act commits a Class A misdemeanor. Specifies that a person commits a Level 6 felony if the person has a prior unrelated conviction for a violation of the reporting requirements. Provides that money collected for a civil violation of the reporting requirements shall be deposited into the environmental management special fund. Adds definitions of "water user", "objectionable substance", "park", and "spill". Makes conforming changes.

 

SB29: Annual inspection of CAFOs (dead)

Authors: Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R)

Status: Died in the Senate Agriculture Committee

Position: CAC supports this bill

Description: Requires the department of environmental management, at least once per year, to conduct an onsite inspection of every concentrated animal feeding operation or "CAFO" (which, under the definition in federal regulations, is: (1) a large CAFO, at which more than 1,000 head of beef cattle, 700 dairy cows, 2,500 swine weighing more than 55 pounds, or 125,000 broiler chickens are confined onsite for more than 45 days during a year; (2) a medium CAFO, at which 300 to 999 head of beef cattle, 200 to 699 dairy cows, 750 to 2,499 swine weighing more than 55 pounds, or 37,500 to 124,999 broiler chickens are confined onsite for more than 45 days during a year, and from which pollutants are discharged directly or through a manmade device into waters of the United States; or (3) a small CAFO, at which fewer animals are confined than at a medium CAFO but which has been determined to be a significant contributor of pollutants to waters of the United States).

 

 

Watching:

HB1055: Watershed development commissions

HB1090: Municipal lakefront development projects

HB1162: Fertilizer runoff and Lake Michigan discharges

HB1274: Trails funding

HB1283: Urban agricultural zones

HB1292: Wildlife corridors

HB1325: Recycling operations study

HB1344: Greenhouse gas emissions inventory grant program

HB1359: Air pollution

HB1472: Right to farm

HB1559: Data base of potentially contaminated properties

SB121: Study of low-carbon and green industries

SB271: The department of environmental management

SB280: Municipal riverfront development projects

 

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Updated: 4/29/21

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