The Inmates Running Indiana’s Asylum

Meanwhile, on the local front….

As I was busy avoiding last Friday’s Inauguration, a reader sent me the digest of an bill introduced in the Indiana legislature, demonstrating that insanity isn’t confined to Washington, D.C.

The official synopsis of House Bill 1127 reads as follows:

Nullification of EPA regulations in Indiana. Nullifies all regulations imposed in Indiana by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Provides that the department of environmental management shall provide environmental protection for the citizens of Indiana. Effective: July 1, 2017.

The fiscal analysis of the measure (which evidently assumes that there is no such thing as the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution) is blunt: According to the Legislative Services Agency’s Office of Fiscal and Management Analysis,

the bill nullifies all regulations imposed in Indiana by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It provides that the Department of Environmental Management shall provide environmental protection for the citizens of Indiana… The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) would be solely responsible for providing environmental protection for the state due to the nullification of U.S. EPA regulations provided in this bill. The impact to IDEM would be the loss of federal funds from the U.S. EPA that are used to run programs and provide funding for the staff assigned to those programs. This would also result in a reduction of the amount of state matching funds (about $11 M in dedicated funds annually) that the state would have to provide to receive the federal funds. If IDEM continues the programs, the costs would be funded only through state appropriations.

This bill could result in the loss of about $22.5 M annually in federal funding from the U.S. EPA. Of this amount, about $2.2 M was disbursed to local units in FY 2016…. Local units receiving funding from U.S. EPA grants through IDEM could experience a decline in funding. For FY 2016, local units received about $2.2 M in grant funding through U.S. EPA funds received by IDEM.

The operative phrase, of course, is “If IDEM continues the programs…” It is fairly obvious that the purpose of this legislation is to allow Indiana to discontinue programs that protect the state’s air and water.

I have no idea whether this retrograde effort will get a hearing, nor do I know anything about Representative Judy, who introduced it. We can hope that legislative leadership recognizes both the unconstitutionality of the measure–after all, states cannot simply “nullify” federal regulations with which they disagree, no matter how much they might want to–and the considerable political capital it would cost them.

Despite the rejection of climate science by Republican ideologues and Trump cabinet nominees, survey research confirms that large majorities of both Republicans and Democrats accept settled science and strongly favor environmental protections.

Bills like this raise the question–perennial in Indiana–WHO ELECTS THESE PEOPLE??


  1. girl cousin,

    “Far from the question of ‘who elects these people,’ who puts these people on the ballot?”

    Right. First of all, you have to ask the right question, but it doesn’t seem that anyone on either side of the aisle wants to face political reality. That includes many who participate on this blog. At this rate, we are all going to do go “down the tube.”

    Do you think the Koch Brothers do it all by themselves?

  2. Girl Cousin,

    Trump/Pence have lost, the only problem is that their opponents are, for the most part, afraid to win. Their LEADERS are completely devoid of CIVIC COURAGE. They believe marching, like marching against Cancer or child abuse, is going to make a difference. What a disgrace.

  3. It looks like it’s down to a great battle: THE DEPLORABLES vs. THE DISGRACEFUL. This is an easy call. Where can I find a bookie on this one?

    de-plor-a-ble (de plor’ e bel) adj. regrettable, very bad, wretched, etc.

    dis-grace (-gras’) n. [<It dis-, not+grazia, favor] l. loss of favor or respect; shame; disrepute 2. a person or thing bringing shame–vt. -graced', -grac'ing to bring shame or dishonor upon–dis-grace'ful adj.

    ~Webster's New World Dictionary

Comments are closed.