environment

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana legislators created more than 200 new laws this year. And most of them take effect July 1. That includes controversial measures governing environmental regulations, heavy trucks and the events of 2020.

(FILE PHOTO: Steve Burns/WTIU)

Environmental groups and some lawmakers worry a bill, HB 1436, could pressure regulators to approve pollution permits they would otherwise deny. The Hoosier Environmental Council said an amendment has dramatically improved the bill, but it could still have unintended consequences.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

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.

(Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons)

(Chris Light/Wikimedia Commons)

Nine cities in Indiana will work on projects to reduce their impact on the planet: Bloomington, Carmel, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Gary, Goshen, Richmond, West Lafayette and Zionsville. They’re taking the next step after completing their greenhouse gas inventories.

(Wikimedia Commons)

A state Senate bill that would remove protections for Indiana’s wetlands passed out of committee on Monday by a vote of 8-3. Supporters of the bill say the state’s unnecessary wetland regulations have driven up home prices and caused headaches for farmers.

(FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU)

Indiana got a “D” for how it educates kids about climate change. That’s according to a report released by the National Center for Science Education and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. But the state Department of Education said it's working to change that. The report called Indiana’s approach to teaching the reality, severity, and human responsibility for causing climate change “abysmal.” Just six states received a lower letter grade than Indiana.

Midwest EPA Union Celebrates End Of Trump Presidency

Nov 10, 2020
(Courtesy of AFGE Local 704)

A union representing employees at the Environmental Protection Agency in the Midwest is celebrating the end of the Trump administration. Members of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 said the president’s leadership has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. 

(Mike Mozart/Flickr)

Is my drinking water safe? How can I find out what polluted sites are in my neighborhood? Several of our audience members wanted to know the answer to these questions and more.

(Mike Mozart/Flickr)

Is my drinking water safe? How can I find out what polluted sites are in my neighborhood? Several of our audience members wanted to know the answer to these questions and more.

(FILE PHOTO: Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

It’s safe to say there have been other things on Hoosiers’ minds than the environment these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected the health of Indiana residents, but also jobs and local economies. Meanwhile, people across the country are protesting acts of violence by police officers against black men and women. 

(FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake/WTIU)

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is facing a class action lawsuit over who can get reimbursed for cleaning up leaking underground gas tanks through a state fund.

Photos courtesy of Indiana University, Earth Charter Indiana, and Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority

Wednesday is the 50th Earth Day. To mark the occasion, the Hoosier Environmental Council hosted a roundtable discussion with three environmental pioneers who once worked at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Derek Jensen/Wikimedia Commons

An environmental group is asking the governor to veto legislation that it says would harm the state’s wetlands. The Hoosier Environmental Council says recent changes to a bill regarding drain maintenance in wetlands don’t go far enough. 

The bill aims to help local governments cut costs by allowing them to fix or reconstruct a drain in a state wetland without a permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Brock Turner/WFIU, WTIU

A state Senate committee gutted language in a controversial coal bill on Thursday. The bill aimed to keep coal plants open until Indiana can develop a statewide energy plan. 

An amendment proposed by the Senate utilities committee chair, Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), altered key parts of the bill. It changed language that would require the state to review the reasonableness of a plant closure, hold a public hearing, and issue an opinion before a utility could close it.

Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

Climate change is expected to threaten Indiana’s water supply. Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute has developed an interactive map to help cities plan for less clean water in the future. 

The mapping tool lets people see how much water cities in the Wabash River basin are projected to lose or gain in the next 30 or 60 years.

Courtesy of IDEM

A seemingly simple bill to help local governments cut costs when repairing drains is working its way through the state legislature. But environmentalists worry it could harm the state’s wetlands. 

The bill proposed by Sen. Victoria Spartz (R-Noblesville) would allow local governments to fix or reconstruct a drain in a state wetland without a permit from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

Hundreds of kids from all over the state gathered at the Indiana Statehouse for Youth Climate Action Day. The event invites young people to encourage their lawmakers to pass policies that address climate change. 

Indiana University student Silvia Lombardo stands in the capitol atrium in front of a sea of grade school kids.

“It's really important to bring those children to the forefront of this message because it's their lives that we're toying with. And they should be growing up with the mentality that they need to protect their climate," she says.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A state House bill would require utilities to get the state’s permission before shutting down a coal plant — at least until Indiana can develop a statewide energy plan. 

Tyler Lake/WTIU

When the city of East Chicago decided to tear down the West Calumet Public Housing Complex at the beginning of the lead crisis, the city told its residents that hopefully they would be able to put housing there again someday. If the mayor’s new plans go through — that likely won’t happen. 

Report: Funding For IDEM Decreased Over Last Decade

Dec 29, 2019
https://www.facebook.com/IndDEM/photos/a.10150283007905235/10159580058565235/?type=1&theater

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A report has found that funding for the Indiana agency that oversees hazardous spills and the safety of water and air has been decreasing over the last decade.

The Environmental Integrity Project's report also concluded that the $35 million loss in funding for the Indiana Department of  Environmental Management happened even as the state government's spending budget increased. 

Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, says the state's economy may be negatively affected if environmental issues go unaddressed. 

Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

Budget cuts at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and other state environmental agencies around the country are threatening public health. That’s according to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project. 

The group, which advocates for better enforcement of environmental laws, looked at Indiana’s budget over the past decade. Its analysis shows that while overall state spending grew by 17 percent, IDEM’s budget was cut by 20 percent.

Galina Ovtcharova & Alexei Ovtcharov/Fotki

U.S. Steel had yet another oil leak on Friday. An official with the northwest Indiana company says it found a “light, intermittent oil sheen” near one of its pipes that discharges into Lake Michigan waterways. 

This comes just weeks after another leak from U.S. Steel and a chemical spill from ArcelorMittal that killed 3,000 fish. Residents and environmentalists are hoping this won’t become “the new normal.” 

Eric Allix Rogers/Flickr

Almost every Lake Michigan beach that was tested in Indiana last year had at least one day where high bacteria levels could have threatened swimmers’ health. That’s according to a national report on beach water quality by Environment America. 

The report says heavy rains can cause human and animal waste to run off into our waterways and make people sick.

A coalition of state and national environmental groups says it plans to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect Lake Sturgeon. The fish is an endangered species in the state, but environmentalists say it needs federal protection. 

City Environments Attract and Strengthen Rainfall

May 22, 2019

A recent Purdue University study says rainfall in populated areas is strengthened by the heat generated by the people below.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dredge 60,000 cubic yards of polluted sediment out of a canal that connects the Grand Calumet River in East Chicago to Lake Michigan. It’s part of a larger project to remove century-old industrial contaminants from the river. 

Indiana steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal is expected to pay $2 million to the state and another $2.5 million to the federal government for air pollution violations in Northwest Indiana and Ohio. But activists say that’s far from enough. 

Duke Energy is holding the country back from making a faster transition to renewable energy. That’s according to a report released Wednesday by the Environmental Working Group. It says Duke has focused on coal and natural gas, while neglecting to add many renewable energy sources. 

There were a lot of surprises on the energy and environment front in this 2019 legislative session. If you haven't been keeping up, here's what you need to know:

What's Now A Law:

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