February 10, 2018
HEC E New winter barn
What the HEC is Happening in the Statehouse?
Call to Action Summary
The coming few days are a really important window for you to make an impact for Indiana's environment! Please be sure to contact your lawmakers to oppose two bills that would harm our lakes and rivers (HB 1289, HB 1096), oppose a bill that would worsen Gary, Indiana's toxic burden (HB 1318), and support two positive bills (SB 326 and SB 207), having to do with redistricting and solar energy respectively! More details below.

1.) Preserve the Ability of Locals to Protect Their Lakes from Logging & Mining Pollution

The Indiana Senate will soon take up consideration of House Bill 1289, which seeks to eliminate local control of timber harvesting and mining on private land. 

For logging on private lands, and some forms of mining, the State of Indiana has no authority to ensure that these activities do not pollute nearby lakes or rivers. Thus local safeguards -- in the form of zoning ordinances -- are the only measures available to ensure that logging activities follow best forestry practices.  

This bill is of particular concern to those who depend on Lake Monroe for their drinking water, and to the roughly one million people who visit the lake every year to enjoy fishing, boating, or other water sports -- and who rely on a clean and healthy lake for these recreational experiences. Learn more here .  

TAKE ACTION:
Please contact your State Senator and urge him or her to: (1) oppose HB 1289, and to communicate their opposition to Senate Natural Resources Chair Sue Glick; and (2) contact Sen. Glick and urge her not to hear the bill in committee.
2.) Protect Our Lakes and Rivers From Stormwater Pollution
I-69 Construction
Sediment pollution makes lakes and rivers murky, but it's not just an aesthetic problem. Sediment smothers aquatic habitats, reduces fish populations, and increases the cost of treating drinking water. Sediment also increases the risk of toxic algae blooms. It's one of the biggest challenges to Indiana's lakes and rivers, and construction sites are one of the biggest sources. 

HB 1096 would increase sediment pollution by reducing requirements to control construction site run-off. It passed the Indiana House and is now in the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee. Please view our brand new fact sheet here .

TAKE ACTION:
Find out if your State Senator is on the Senate Environmental Committee .  If your Senator is, please urge your Senator to oppose the bill. If they are not on the Committee, then contact the Committee Chair Doug Eckerty and urge Eckerty to deny hearing HB 1096.
3.) Stop a Bill that Would Worsen Gary, Indiana's Environmental Footprint

HB 1318, which has moved out of the House and into the Senate, eliminates a longstanding protection against landfills being built within a half-mile of residential areas.
And it eliminates that protection only for Gary.

Although the bill is limited to “construction/demolition sites” -- a category of landfills -- it defines that term very broadly, so that a wide range of wastes could legally be disposed in such a site, including materials like drywall (which can produce hydrogen sulfide) and lead-painted and lead-treated wood, which can contaminate nearby soil and air.

The ongoing saga of lead and arsenic contamination in East Chicago shows the consequences when the health of people in one part of our state is not taken as seriously as the health of people elsewhere. The Indiana Senate now has an opportunity to turn a new page on those old attitudes that have left so much contamination in Northwest Indiana, and reject HB 1318’s effort to devalue the health and welfare of Gary residents. Read our fact sheet .

TAKE ACTION:
Find out if your State Senator is on the Senate Environmental Committee .  If your Senator is, please urge your Senator to oppose the bill. If they are not on the Committee, then contact the Committee Chair Doug Eckerty and urge Eckerty to deny hearing HB 1318.
4.) Help Make Redistricting Reform & Solar Policy Reform Happen by Focusing Your Efforts on the Indiana House!

In two positive developments for the public good this last week, the Indiana State Senate decisively voted for a pro-redistricting bill, SB 326, as well as pro-solar bill, SB 207.  Those bills will now enter the House for consideration; SB 326 enacts first-ever standards for writing legislative maps , and SB 207 replaces heavy-handed prohibitions by Home Owner Associations on solar panels with reasonable standards . Before either bill - SB 326 or SB 207 -- is discussed before the full House, they will be discussed in Committee.  

TAKE ACTION:

Right now, we really need your help with a small group of State Representatives.  

a.) On SB 326, find out if your State Rep is on the House Elections Committee .  If your Rep is, please urge your Rep to support the bill. If they are not on the Committee, then contact the Committee Chair Milo Smith and urge Smith to hear and support SB 326.

b.) On SB 207, find out if your State Rep is on the House Judiciary Committee .  If your Rep is, please urge your Rep to support the bill. If they are not on the Committee, then contact the Committee Chair Greg Steuerwald and urge Steuerwald to hear and support SB 207.

c.) On SB 207, we also need your help in a different way. Please let us know if your family, your relatives, your friends, your acquaintances, etc. have had any Indiana-based Homeowner Association-related headaches in your (or your networks') efforts -- or potential efforts -- to install solar panels.  We want to hear your stories! They will be crucial to share with lawmakers. Please contact us at comments@hecweb.org .
5.) Take Part in Upcoming Trainings, Workshops, and Town Hall Meetings
Want to magnify your impact for Indiana's environment, but not sure how to do it? 

a.) Hear HEC speak at the following two events!


b.) You can also talk with your legislators by attending town hall meetings (called "Third House" events); these are happening across Indiana in the coming weeks! Please be sure to talk about the issues that we have been raising in our weekly e-blasts (i.e., "What the HEC is Happening at the Statehouse?"), from forests to solar to redistricting to protecting our rivers & streams from factory farm waste and stormwater pollution.

Feb. 10 Crown Point
Feb. 10 Evansville
Feb. 10 Lafayette
Feb. 10 Muncie
Feb. 10 Tipton
Feb. 10 Huntington
Feb. 16 Fort Wayne
Feb. 16 South Bend
Feb. 17 Lafayette
Feb. 17 Garrett

Please let us know if you encounter Third House meetings in your communities -- by looking at your newspaper, e-news from your local Chamber or local Farm Bureau, etc. -- and contact our  Outreach Coordinator so that we can add these to our website's calendar.

c.) If you would like to learn more about anticipated bills this upcoming legislative session and would like to read talking points to help you engage with your representative and senator, please visit our  Bill Watch 2018 page .
 
Hoosier Environmental Council | 317-685-8800 | comments@hecweb.org | www.hecweb.org