Indiana Department of Environmental Management

Ag Study Committee Talks CAFOs

Aug 29, 2017

In a meeting of the agriculture and natural resources study committee that featured very little new information, state lawmakers Tuesday heard from experts and state regulators on animal agriculture and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Committee members heard an overview of the state’s CAFO permitting process from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

And CAFO legislation expert Carolyn Orr told legislators big farm operations aren’t necessarily bad ones.

 

Lead contamination has been making headlines lately: in East Chicago, Indiana, or South Bend or Bloomington. Many towns across Indiana are grappling with lead contamination, and dozens have aging, lead-based water infrastructure.

But how does a town know if it has a lead problem?

David Konisky, a professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University, says there’s not one single process.

An Indiana House committee approved a bill Wednesday that tweaks the permitting process for big livestock farms – despite some public confusion and concerns about the impact of the changes.

The bill, from Rep. David Wolkins (R-Wabash), streamlines the permitting process for confined feeding operations (CFOs) and their larger counterparts, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Duke Energy / https://www.duke-energy.com/power-plants/coal-fired/edwardsport.asp

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, is writing new rules for the disposal of coal ash.

The update is part of a federal overhaul aimed at tightening regulations governing coal combustion residuals, or CCRs.

The waste, commonly referred to as coal ash, is a byproduct of burning coal for electricity.

The new rules from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set requirements for how electric utilities dispose of coal ash.

But the EPA leaves it up to the states to write a plan for meeting the federal requirements.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

 Residents from about 10 central Indiana counties were in Columbus Monday to hear from experts on the impacts of large confined animal feeding operations known as CAFOs.

The talk brought out concerned residents in Bartholomew and surrounding counties.

It was organized by Indiana CAFO Watch and the Socially Responsible Agriculture Project.

Retired University of Missouri agricultural economist John Ikerd was one of the speakers.

Indiana Recycling Coalition / http://www.indianarecycling.org/recycle/indiana-food-scrap-initiative/

An estimated 35 million tons of food is discarded each year in the U.S., equaling $165 billion in food waste, according to the Indiana Recycling Coalition.

A new program launched this week, the Indiana Food Scrap Initiative, will work with organizations that generate a lot of food waste, such as grocery stores, and help them find resources for composting the food.

Indiana Recycling Coalition executive director Carey Hamilton says they hope working on a larger scale will eventually inspire individuals to participate as well.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

A bill that mandated new environmental regulations could not exceed federal standards is headed to the governor’s desk. It heads there only after significant changes.

The Senate passed the so-called "No More Stringent Than" bill, House Bill 1082, after significant amendments. The bill now only requires the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, to report proposed changes for legislative review.

Senate sponsor Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso) led the bill’s overhaul.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management / Facebook

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management Tuesday handed down a fine to an Indianapolis company for disposing of fetal remains as medical waste without a permit. 

And Indiana Right to Life and some conservative lawmakers say the case shines a light on the need for a current bill that would ban that practice.

Indiana law requires a permit to dispose of fetal remains as medical waste.  And the Indianapolis solid waste company did not have that permit and was fined around $11,000. 

Health Officials: No Cancer Cluster In Johnson County

Dec 1, 2015
Yale Rosen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulmonary_pathology/4376905598

The State Health Department and the Department of Environmental Management say they have not found enough evidence to link cases of child cancer around Franklin to a cancer cluster.

ISDH officials say they studied numerous factors, and IDEM studied water, soil, and other factors but found nothing in the area that would be cancer-causing.

There had been concern among some residents that contaminated water was leading to an increase in the number of cases of childhood cancer.

Paul Falardeau / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pfala/

Indiana’s air quality is improving, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, according to an annual American Lung Association report released Wednesday.

The report indicates Indiana has reduced the amount of long-term soot pollution in its air since last year. Counties, though, are reporting more days that include a few hours of high soot levels and more days with high ozone levels—things they say can be dangerous to people’s health.

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