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Enviromental Groups Unhappy With Pollution Regulation

Last updated on Friday, December 18, 2009

(UNDATED) - Three environmental groups are asking the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to block proposed new state rules on water pollution.

The Hoosier Environmental Council, the Sierra Club's Hoosier Chapter, and the Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center contend a regulation unveiled Wednesday provides too much leeway to polluters and not enough input to the public when water discharge permits are filed.

ELPC Attorney Albert Ettinger argues the proposed rule would leave some pollutants, such as phosphorus, essentially unregulated, while setting the ceiling for "insignificant" discharges so high as to leave the rest of the regulation meaningless.

If the EPA agrees the proposed rule is too lax, it can order the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to rework the sections it finds objectionable.

The EPA also has the option under the Clean Water Act to take over enforcement of the act from idem, but Ettinger says that's a step that's never been taken.

The environmental groups also object to rules governing coal mining and animal feeding operations.

The groups contend each mine or farm should have to go through its own permit review, rather than allowing a generalized permit process for most such businesses.

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