Indiana Legislative Folly….Rinse and Repeat…

Remember House Bill 1082? The “No Stricter Than” measure that would prohibit Indiana’s environmental agency from acting to combat local environmental threats if the proposed action was “stricter” than EPA standards?

I am not the only observer pointing to the real dangers--not to mention absurdity– of that measure, which has been moving inexorably through the legislative process.

The utter hypocrisy of the GOP on the EPA and environmental regulation was on vivid display last week in a Congressional hearing called to address the water crisis in Flint, Michigan:

In a House hearing last week, GOP lawmakers focused their outrage on the weakness of EPA regulations and actions that contributed to the Flint disaster. However, The New Republic has detailed their consistent opposition to its regulatory actions.

Republicans in Washington and Indianapolis constantly complain about EPA “overreach.” In one of the recent GOP debates, Jeb Bush called for sending EPA authority back to the states, and he is hardly alone. Indiana Governor Pence has been an ardent foe of virtually all environmental efforts, and has made the EPA a special target, despite the fact that Indiana’s air and water rank among the country’s most polluted.

For years, at the urging of well-heeled industry lobbyists and donors, Republicans have done everything they can to neuter the EPA and eviscerate its regulatory power— and now, when faced with an environmental crisis, Congressional Republicans have the gall–the chutzpah–to blame that crisis on “weak” EPA regulations.

At the very same time, back home in Indiana, Republican state legislators —still singing the lobbyists’ song—are insisting that EPA regulations are so strong that we shouldn’t allow state government to supplement them. Ever. No matter what.

You really can’t make this shit up.


  1. Prof K says:
    “. Indiana Governor Pence has been an ardent foe of virtually all environmental efforts, and has made the EPA a special target, despite the fact that Indiana’s air and water rank among the country’s most polluted.”
    For some reason, Republicans just LOVE dirty Air, dirty water , dirty food and OTC meds that are fraudulent. Because Freedom?

  2. Dave Wolkins is the author of this bill. Unfortunately he is the state rep for my district. He is the state chair for ALEC and has prostituted himself out to their corporate members. Make no mistake, Pence has prostituted himself out to ALEC corporate members too. He has been a keynote speaker at their conventions.

    There is absolutely NOTHING positive in this bill. It is a bill created solely to enable greedy evil corporations to pollute our air and water even more without any consequences for the damage they cause.

    Wolkins will be at the Wabash County Farm Bureau Insurance building this Saturday at 8:30 to meet with constituents. If you are in the area and are interested in personally questioning him about this bill and his relationship with ALEC, please attend.

  3. Andy, For many of the sheep, the issues will still not be understood when they are bitten in the face. And Indiana leads the flock. For the rest of the sheep, it isn’t that they do not understand; it is that they do not care. Think of that all too prevalent, conservative mindset: I got mine, too bad about you.

  4. The Republicon Goal is to by what ever means possible destroy any rules and regulations that inhibit Profit. You see it is very simple, any rules or regulations, that inhibit Profit must be by their definition wrong, such as Clean Air, Clean Water, minimum wage, worker’s rights, etc..
    It is an attack to make the Government look incompetent in some cases by not funding it properly, or by not giving it the tools to properly accomplish it’s job and say look the EPA is useless. It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

    According to article I read in the Guardian on Flint, Michigan – The EPA has 200 fully authorized federal law enforcement agents who can carry firearms, 70 forensic scientists and technicians, and 45 attorneys who specialize in environmental crimes enforcement.

    As a comparison we have according to 2010 Pentagon reports, there are 963 generals and admirals in the U.S. armed forces. So there you have it 70 forensic scientists and technicians in the EPA vs 963 Flag Officers in the military.

  5. As a former rule writer for IDEM, I have personal experience with this. I wrote many variations of rules on behalf of businesses that wanted to do something different, but opted for more stringent requirements.

    What the average citizen doesn’t realize is that most “guidance” issued by EPA requires states and local units of government to pass rules that are no less stringent than EPA guidance. Indiana doesn’t have to legislate EPA guidance into a rule, Indiana could come up with a different rule, but the Indiana rule can be no less stringent than corresponding EPA guidance.

    So if a rule cannot be any less stringent than EPA guidance, and a rule cannot be any more stringent, this basically means that Indiana has to legislate the EPA guidance exactly. This is because it is nearly impossible to come up with something different that is exactly equivalent of EPA guidance. This also means that environmental regulations are decided at the federal level where business lobbyists are usually more powerful than concerned citizens.

    This also ignores that many businesses are already doing things that are more stringent than what EPA requires, but is vastly different than EPA guidance. This doesn’t address that businesses actually request rules of IDEM.

    When Governor Daniels first took office, he issued a policy at IDEM that IDEM would not issue any legislation that was more stringent than federal requirements. So while the concept is not entirely new, with department policy, there are chances allowed for variations, especially when a business wants the option to do something more stringent, usually because the business has better, but different technology than what the rules require. With making this state legislation, this also means IDEM loses department policy discretion that could favor businesses too.

  6. One of the truisms that is obscured to conservatives is that the purpose of democratic government is to be the collective voice of we the people managing our world. We speak to those who would like to impose what’s best for them on us with power and authority. Those who speak for us in words that we disagree with get fired.

    Businesses can find that what we want is a pain in their butt. Tough in my opinion. What we want is not their choice.

    It works exactly as planned. But because it’s our collective voice it does not represent each of us. Conservatives are instructed to concentrate at what we say that’s different than what they personally say and vote to therefore silence our voice.

    Why would we do that? That’s merely empowering fewer of us.

    Freedom comes from democracy. Not perfectly but adequately and as good as life offers.

  7. Gayl Killough: “This also means that environmental regulations are decided at the federal level where business lobbyists are usually more powerful than concerned citizens.”

    The Republican congress has been systematically destroying the EPA, mostly by cutting their funding. This has created a system that allows powerful corporations to pay for their own fake studies (while claiming them as scientific) by scientists that they pay to provide their false reports of safety.

    The energy and chemical sector lobbyists have been successfully using their deep pockets to reduce the power of the EPA and ultimately create a safe business atmosphere to protect their profits while poisoning and polluting our air and water.

  8. This law and Sheila’s added context should be on the front page of every newspaper and broadcast on every TV and radio station, simply to inform the “loyal” Republican voters that they have misplaced their trust. Essentially, the law says that we need polluters but there are lots of people, so they can just go away and die. If there ever was legislation that tells what these people are about, this is it.

    I’ve written my representative, for all the good that will do. The guy has drunk the Kool-Aid and is long gone. He’s still just walking around. But it’s good to tell people that not everyone is asleep.

  9. The real message that conservatives have for their constituents is simple. If we mutually pretend that we control reality, then when the s**t hits the fan we can act surprised and not rely on each other.

    So fossil fuel workers pretend your career is solid and when it becomes obsolete you’re on your own.

  10. Pete, no kidding. There are signs all over Southern Indiana that advertise “Friends of Coal”, like putting up the sign will somehow protect them when Peabody signs away another mine to a shell which, in another year, goes out of business and robs another group of workers of their pensions. They will find out that they have been “friends” of coal, but the coal was not their friend, especially when they come down with the lung disease that kills them and they have no pension. Like you say, “you’re on your own”. Another group of suckers who never voted in their best interest.

  11. We all know that trees are a vital part of our environment, right? A post on Facebook today stated that America is the only country that cuts down trees, turns them into paper and writes ‘save trees” on the paper. Today I received in the mail a hysterical waste of paper that needs to be shared with you. And aren’t postage expenses paid for all legislators with our tax dollars?

    The mail is addressed to me by name, the return address is a scribble I assume is Ted Cruz, below that is U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and his address. Stamped on the envelope is “Check Enclosed”. This piqued my curiosity so I took it back out of the trash can and opened it. The check is in the amount of $45, Pay to the Order of “Cruz for President” and is dated January 26, 2016. It contains the usual form asking for donations which will be doubled if I act quickly, $45 – $500, by check or credit card.

    The enclosed letter salutation reads; Dear Fellow Conservative”. Is someone playing a joke on me or is Cruz this foolish or desperate? I can’t decide whether to throw it back in the trash or sign “Ted Cruz” on the back and send it to them. It did give me my only laugh of the day. Let me know if anyone else receives a copy.

  12. JoAnn, if the return envelope is postage paid I suggest you might write a heartfelt note and send it back at their expense while grinning feom ear to ear.

  13. Nancy; I did check that, it requires a stamp;-) As Sheila so aptly put it, “you can’t make up this shit”

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