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Hoosier Environmental Council on legislative session

The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) is drawing attention to some concerns it has with several bills the General Assembly is considering.

Kim Ferraro, HEC staff attorney, says one such measure would expand the state Right to Farm Act, which limits the circumstances under which agricultural operations are subject to nuisance lawsuits. She says specifically in situations concerning confined animal feeding operations, citizens have had to take legal action to get relief from noxious odors and water pollution.

Ferraro says the proposed legislation would not only limit who could be sued, but also would require the person who filed the lawsuit to pay all court costs if they lose their case. She says, if signed into law, Indiana would be the only state with a “loser-pay” system.

Jesse Kharbanda, HEC executive director, says Indiana still lags behind most states when it comes to national rankings of environmental quality. He says several bills being considered could set the state back even further.

Kharbanda says that includes a measure providing for the expansion of open burning, by allowing demolition debris to be transported to an unincorporated area for burning. He says another issue is ensuring adequate funding for the state departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Management.

More details of the Hoosier Environmental Council’s concerns will be presented during a webinar Friday, January 25 at noon (EST). You can find information about the event HERE.

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