Environment

Environment news

A bill to aid toxic cleanup efforts in the city of East Chicago, Indiana, passed unanimously out of a House committee on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago), who authored the bill, says the city will need long term assistance to combat its lead contamination crisis.

“There’s a lot of support that’s come on the national level, on the state level, and I want to make sure that this continues,” Harris says. “This is not a short term problem.”

Before leaving office, former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence denied an emergency declaration request from the city of East Chicago, Indiana. But East Chicago State Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. is hopeful new Gov. Eric Holcomb will still consider one.

The Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago has lead and arsenic contamination in its soil at 200 times the legal limit.

Harris says the request isn’t something the city asked for lightly.

“I didn’t know if there was a lack of understanding or what the situation was but really we need, needed, and still need more help,” Harris says.

 

Residents of a lead contaminated neighborhood in East Chicago, Indiana want a larger role in the clean up process and they’re taking an unusual step to get it.

Seven residents of the lead and arsenic–polluted neighborhood want to join the Environmental Protection Agency’s lawsuit against the companies paying for the cleanup. The residents argue neither party represents their interests, and they want more say. An attorney representing the residents, David Chizewer, says its an uncommon tactic but an important step.

 

This year, Hoosier farmers planted more than one million acres of cover crops, up from virtually none in 2004.

Farmers grow cover crops — like rye, alfalfa, or sorghum — in the winter to protect and enhance soil health. Shannon Zezula, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s state resource conservationist for Indiana, says more farmers are planting them now because they work.

 

Environmentalists around the state are gearing up for the 2017 legislative session, and some will make the case that greater environmental protection is crucial for economic development.

Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, says one priority is to get increased funding for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Since 2007, state funding for IDEM has been cut by 25 percent. Kharbanda says that means less money for the agency to enforce regulations, monitor pollution or hire personnel.

Sarah Altendorf / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarah_elizabeth_simpson/

Two of the three Clinton County Commissioners who will consider the future of the county’s wind energy ordinance Thursday won’t be in office to see it decided.

That’s because both Bert Weaver – who declined a taped interview -- and Cory Boyles – who didn’t return repeated calls seeking comment -- lost their primary races in May. They’ll be replaced at the start of the New Year.

But even if both men try to scuttle wind farm development in the county, it’s unlikely they’ll have the last word.

 

The City of East Chicago, Indiana, told residents the high lead levels recently measured in drinking water in the Calumet neighborhood are likely the result of the efforts to clean up lead in the soil in the same area.

East Chicago utilities director Greg Crowley told residents at a public meeting that is all the information he can release right now.

“They provided us some preliminary results, um, they wanted to validate their results, so we do not have final data,” Crowley says.

 

The Indiana Court of Appeals made a landmark property rights ruling on Dec. 7, finding land owners along Lake Michigan cannot prevent people from accessing the lake.

In a 3-0 decision, the court defined the boundary between private and public property along Lake Michigan at the Ordinary High Water Mark.

Drought Affecting Parts Of Southern Indiana

Dec 1, 2016
Of the major corn and soybean states, Indiana was one of the worst affected by the 2012 drought. Assoc. State Climatologist Ken Scheeringa says this year's drought is not as serious.
Of the major corn and soybean states, Indiana was one of the worst affected by the 2012 drought. Assoc. State Climatologist Ken Scheeringa says this year's drought is not as serious.

 

More than half of Indiana is experiencing abnormally dry soil conditions and parts of 22 southern Indiana counties are experiencing moderate or severe drought.

But Ken Scheeringa, Indiana’s associate state climatologist, says the situation isn’t as bad as it could be.

“The timing is everything. Summer time is not good. Fall is not so bad,” says Scheeringa.

Summer drought conditions affect crop production, but since harvest has wrapped up, Scheeringa says the impacts of a fall drought are limited.

EDP Renewables

The northern half of Indiana has long been touted as a good place to invest in wind energy—the state has the 12th most wind turbines in the country.

But just because companies are investing in wind infrastructure, doesn’t mean the industry is booming quite the way it once was.

In 2007, Indiana had no large wind turbines.

By 2009, the state’s more than 600 turbines produced enough energy to power nearly 400,000 homes.

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