Indiana lawmakers are again proposing far-reaching changes to the way that state agencies adopt regulations that implement state or federal laws. House Enrolled Act 1623 includes revisions to the process for adoption of emergency rules, shortens the time period when rules must be readopted from seven to five years, and requires agencies to prepare a detailed regulatory analysis for proposed rules. Instead of streamlining the rulemaking process, these provisions could make it more burdensome. The bill has a few positive elements, including adding an additional public comment period during the rulemaking process and requiring better notice of agency rulemakings.
In a committee in the House, legislators added language to prevent IDEM from adopting coal ash disposal rules more stringent than the EPA coal ash rule. The EPA rule, adopted in 2015, greatly strengthened oversight requirements for coal ash ponds and landfills, but does have gaps and weaknesses that electric utilities have exploited.
In the Senate, HEA 1623 went from bad to worse when a 54-page amendment was introduced to the bill just hours before a committee vote. This new amendment puts restrictions on state agencies’ ability to limit pesticides and herbicides, in addition to coal ash. On second reading, there were bipartisan efforts to remove the dangerous coal ash language from the bill, but unfortunately, they were unsuccessful.
Final Update (5/4/23)
Despite advocacy efforts by HEC and our partners, HEA 1623 has been signed into law by Governor Holcomb. Thank you for joining us in taking action.
See how your state legislators have voted, and thank them if they voted against this legislation: