Natural Resources

IndyStar Article, “The White River Will Never Be Clean Until We Tackle This Filth Hiding in Plain Sight”

The IndyStar examines the issue of toxic runoff into the White River. While the article focuses on the effects on water quality in the Indianapolis area, the problem is widespread and affects us all.

https://www.indystar.com/in-depth/news/environment/2019/09/23/white-river-biggest-problem-hiding-plain-sight-toxic-stormwater-runoff-pollution/2207338001/?fbclid=IwAR1FNNk-m1EYVxODEzgnvqRttg4Ehr16CCiyDCDrfD0BpxyQr1TDV19uHwc

From the Sierra Club Newsletter:

Article: You Can’t Put a Price Tag on Life

The Trump administration’s proposal to dramatically weaken the Endangered Species Act amounts to death by a thousand cuts. If the administration has its way, profit-seeking will eventually eclipse the need to protect at-risk species.

Link: You Can’t Put a Price Tag on Life

From the Sierra Club Newsletter:

Campaign (form for submitting a message through the EPA Official Comment Docket on Water):

The Trump administration’s next attack on the Clean Water Act would keep your state from demanding that big polluters protect local waterways and drinking water sources. State governments and groups like the Sierra Club use Section 401 of the Clean Water Act to protect your local waterways.

Trump’s Coming for Your Local Waterways 

Climate Strike in Muncie

An older gentleman and a younger man sit side by side holding signs that say Climate Crisis! We demand action!

As part of the global climate strike held on Friday, September 20, approximately 25 activists from the  Muncie area gathered in front of the Delaware County Building at 4:00 pm. Ranging in age from under six months to over 70 years old, demonstrators drew attention to the need for governments worldwide to take measures to combat climate change. 

Drivers-by registered their support at the busy intersection by honking their horns as the lights changed.  

Friday, September 20

Demonstrators were supplemented by Muncie schools when the Homecoming Parade marched down Walnut Street. 

A group of protesters young and old march down the sidewalk holding signs demanding action on Climate Change.

The takeaway, in Muncie and across the globe, is clear:

If we hope to survive climate change, we must insist that governments devise and implement comprehensive, wide-ranging plans that effectively tackle it, before it’s too late.

 

Father and two children fishing off pier in Indiana pond

Calendar of Events

Get involved in protecting Indiana’s Natural Resources! 

November 2019

Saturday, November 16

HEC 12th Annual Greening the Statehouse

IMMI Conference Center, Westfield, IN

From HEC’s website: “the largest annual gathering of environmentally-minded Hoosiers. It is the year’s best chance to learn about upcoming legislative issues, engage with environmental public policy experts, and network with environmental-minded Hoosiers and green-minded businesses from across the state.”

HEC’s Greening the Statehouse website (to learn more and register): https://www.hecweb.org/gts/ 


Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-8:00 pm

 

Environmental Sustainability in Indiana

Monroe County Public Library, Bloomington, IN

“Learn how Indiana has progressed, where it stands today, and how to make your daily life as sustainable as possible.”

Monroe County Public Library Events Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/monroe-county-public-library-indiana/environmental-sustainabiliity-in-indiana/407151913245640/


Tuesday, November 12, 5:00-6:00 pm

 

Muncie Environmental Impact Committee Meeting

Muncie City Hall, Muncie, IN

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2470711999840385/


Friday, November 1, 9-10:00 am
                 (repeats monthly to May 1)

 

IU Environmental Resilience Institute Climate Conversations

For more information, see the Environmental Resilience Institute Events website: https://events.iu.edu/eri/view/event/event_id/94368?utm_source=eri.iu.edu/events/index.html&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=framework&utm_term=standard&utm_content=2019-11-01-09-00-Climate%20Conversations 


CONTACT your Legislators to Register your Support for these Important Bills!

October, 2019

Public Transportation—SB285

SB285 is intended to enable communities across Indiana to raise dedicated funds for mass transit. (Public transportation lowers demand for fossil fuels and reduces carbon emissions contributing to climate change.)

 

Summary of SB285 (LegiScan.com):

Regional transit expansion.

Allows counties to impose an additional local income tax rate to fund the operations of a public transportation corporation and the operations of a rural transportation assistance program if the: (1) voters of the county approve a local public question; and (2) fiscal body of the county adopts an ordinance to impose the additional tax rate.

Provides that the rate must be at least 0.1% but not more than 0.25%. Excludes from this provision any county that is eligible to hold a referendum on funding transportation projects under the central Indiana public transportation projects statute.


 

CFO Regulation—HB1378

This legislation aims to impose, for the first time, air pollution limits on factory farms. It would also establish protective setbacks—a buffer zone between factory farms and nearby homes, public places, and environmentally-sensitive resources.

 

Summary of HB1378 (LegiScan.com):

Regulation of confined feeding operations.

Amends the law on confined feeding operations (CFOs), which include any confined feeding of at least 300 cattle, 600 swine or sheep, 30,000 fowl, or 500 horses.

Provides for the department of environmental management (IDEM) to issue CFO permits instead of “approvals.”

Provides that a person that owns a CFO, owns the livestock in a CFO, applies for a permit, permit renewal, or permit modification for a CFO, or is otherwise in direct or responsible charge of a CFO, is a “responsible party” with respect to the CFO and must disclose certain information.

Provides that a person may not start construction or operation of a CFO without obtaining a permit from IDEM and may not modify a CFO without obtaining a permit modification from IDEM.

Provides that the application for a permit or permit modification must be accompanied by: (1) plans and specifications prepared or certified by a professional engineer; (2) certain site-specific information; and (3) a site-specific air pollution control plan.

Requires IDEM to: (1) provide public access to a permit application through IDEM’s virtual file cabinet; (2) publish a notice requesting public comments on the application; (3) allow interested persons to submit written comments; and (4) hold a public hearing on the permit application upon written request.

Requires the commissioner of IDEM (commissioner) to deny an application for a permit or permit modification if the proposed activity would substantially endanger public health or the environment.

Authorizes IDEM to revoke a CFO permit if necessary to prevent or abate a substantial endangerment to public health or the environment.

Requires the environmental rules board (board) to adopt rules establishing: (1) limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions; and (2) requirements and prohibitions applying to new CFOs, CFOs proposed for expansion, and other existing CFOs.

Provides that the rules must prohibit a new or expanded CFO from being located within one mile of a residence unless the owner of the residence consents to a lesser setback or the commissioner determines that the CFO’s air pollution control plan will prevent the CFO from exceeding the limits on hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia emissions established by the rules of the board.

Makes technical corrections.


Net Metering—SB430 and HB1331

SB430 restores net metering, and HB1331 reduces burdens on potential solar panel owners who are part of homeowner associations.

 

Summary of SB430 (LegiScan.com):

Elimination of net metering phase out.

Eliminates provisions under which net metering (an arrangement under which an electric utility’s customer who has equipment for the production of electricity and who intermittently supplies electricity from that equipment to the electric utility is credited for the electricity that the customer supplies to the electric utility) would be partially ended by 2032 and completely ended by 2047.

Eliminates a limit on the aggregate amount of an electric utility’s net metering facility nameplate capacity that can be made available for customers’ participation in net metering.

Provides instead that the net metering facility nameplate capacity that an electric utility makes available for customers’ participation in net metering must be at least 3% of the electric utility’s most recent summer peak load.

Provides that, of the net metering facility nameplate capacity made available for customers’ participation in net metering, 30% must be reserved for participation by residential customers and not more than 5% must be reserved for participation by customers that install net metering facilities that use organic waste biomass.

 

Summary of HB1331 (LegiScan.com):

Homeowners associations.

Provides that, subject to certain specified exceptions, a homeowners association may not: (1) prohibit the owner of a dwelling unit from installing a solar energy system; (2) impose unreasonable limitations on the owner’s ability to install or use a solar energy system; or (3) require the removal of a solar energy system that has been installed.

Provides, however, that a homeowners association may require: (1) compliance with screening requirements imposed by the homeowners association; and (2) preapproval of the location of a solar energy system and of the manner in which the solar energy system is installed.

Applies only to rules, covenants, declarations of restrictions, and other governing documents adopted or amended by a homeowners association after June 30, 2019.

Provides that if a party to a dispute involving a homeowners association requests mediation, mediation is mandatory.

Provides that if neither party requests mediation, or if mediation is unsuccessful, a claimant may begin legal proceedings. Requires a mediation to be conducted in compliance with the Indiana supreme court rules for alternative dispute resolution.

Makes corresponding amendments to the provisions regarding grievance resolutions involving condominium associations.

 


Logging—SB610

Since 2005, 300-400% increases in logging have hurt wildlife habitats and hiking trails, also resulting in further damage caused by the growth of invasive plants and the construction of new gravel roads. Management plans must be developed for our state forests that require the exemption of a minimum of 10% of forested land from logging activity. SB610 offers a plan to limit logging in Indiana state forests.

 

Summary of SB610 (LegiScan.com):

State forest commission and management plan.

Establishes a state forest commission. Specifies the membership of the commission. Requires the commission to meet in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and to issue a written report establishing a plan for the management of the state forests for the 100-year period beginning in 2022.

Provides that the commission’s plan must contain certain recommendations and must embody certain principles.

Requires the state forest commission to set forth in its report the subjects discussed and issues raised concerning which the general assembly may choose to pass legislation.

Requires the natural resources commission to adopt rules incorporating the state forest commission’s determination about the percentage of state forest land falling within each of the three “priority use” categories.

Requires the natural resources commission, every seven years, to conduct a review of the implementation of the state forest commission’s plan and to adopt rules to revise the plan, as appropriate.

 

Legislators to contact to voice your support for SB610:

Melanie Wright is a member of the committee and local legislator; Jean Leising is the committee chairman; and committee members Mike Crider, Susan Glick, Don Lehe, and J. D. Prescott are opposed to the proposed changes in logging, and they need to hear from us.

 

These posts are taken from the newsletter of the LWV of Upper Mississippi River Region. We think our community will be interested in these informative articles and videos. Please follow the links for the full stories!

Climate Change – What does it mean for Iowa?

Dr. Erv Klaas told us about the impact of climate change on Iowa, especially focusing on the extreme rainfall and flooding that is occurring now.  In this talk, Dr. Klaas links warmer waters in the Gulf of Mexico with increased humidity and in turn more rainfall. 

Click here for video!

Soil health, climate change and adaptation

Dr. Jean Eells

Soil Health Explained

Dr. Jean Eells met with the LWV UMRR Board and guests, sharing her expansive knowledge of adult learning styles as she talked about soil health. Dr. Eells discussed the different ways that women and men  respond to information, and how best to reach women with soil health messaging.  

Click here for the post, including video.

Climate Adaptation – Threat and Opportunity

In this guest post, Matt Doll from the Minnesota Environmental Partnership looks at opportunities that exist for farmers in this time of changing climate.  One big idea who’s time may be coming is Kernza, a perennial variety of wheat.  

Link to full article

 

Waelz Sustainable Products blocked from Polluting Muncie

City Council Institutes Environmental Impact Committee

American Electric Power Agrees to Implement Pollution Control

The Muncie–Delaware County community has two important reasons to celebrate this summer: first, the reversal of a decision that would have damaged public health and well-being, and second, the institution of a governmental safeguard that will help prevent similar threats in the future.

Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP)

Muncie is Safe-r

Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) sought and received City support for a facility installation at the site of the former Borg-Warner plant. While the project was presented as a positive development for Muncie, as a recycling project that would provide jobs, it would have also led to the release of hazardous environmental pollutants, contaminating the region with lead, mercury, dioxin, and dangerous particulates.

Over 600 local residents turned out to protest the project at the Muncie City Council meeting on August 5th. Also, citizens organized and attended meetings on the issue, signed petitions, wrote letters to the editor, and contacted local and state legislators. In response to overwhelming community opposition, WSP’s plans to install the factory were withdrawn—a big win for area residents, whose lives will be healthier as a result.

But the win didn’t end there. Because residents demonstrated not only that the community is strongly engaged in issues of public health and environmental, but also that elected officials will be held accountable to their constituents for the decisions they make on our behalf, the City Council has instituted an environmental impact committee. This committee will be responsible for reviewing new proposed projects that might negatively affect air, soil, and water quality in the area. Its members are required to seek advice from professionals before making decisions that would affect environmental conditions.

Not only did Muncie and Delaware County citizens successfully overturn a decision that would have compromised our overall health and well-being for years to come, but we also demonstrated that “we, the people” do indeed have a powerful voice—that when we insist on being heard, we can help direct community development in ways that enhance our quality of life rather than jeopardize it.

For more information, follow these links to coverage by the StarPress:

comprehensive collection of links

environmental committee creation

A planned steel-dust recycling facility in Muncie would look similar to this one. (Photo: Waelz Sustainable Products)

AEP Commits to Retire Largest Coal Unit

More good news on the environmental front: American Electric Power Corporation has signed a legal agreement to implement increased pollution controls that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from its two Rockport power plants in Spencer, Indiana, by at least 58%. Furthermore, one of the two units is scheduled for complete retirement by December 31, 2028, which is expected to prevent the ejection of 9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—the equivalent of removing 2 million cars from the road. In addition, the company will provide $3.5 million to fund projects aimed at improving energy efficiency and pollution reduction.

For more information, see the Sierra Club article at https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2019/07/american-electric-power-commits-retire-largest-coal-unit-beyond-coal-campaign.

Waelz Zinc Processing Facility to Replace Borg-Warner

Muncie City Council tonight voted to assign study of the Waelz Zinc Processing facility to a committee that will invite testimony from scientists and citizens. 

The committee will then recommend a revised ordinance or rescind the original ordinance. 
They will hold a public hearing—date TBA.   

 

Put this on your calendar too!

 Waelz Zinc Processing facility public meeting

Tuesday, August 20

—see notice below-

July 31, 2019 Contact: Ali Alavi - 317-334-7067 WSP understands the concerns being expressed by the Muncie community regarding the proposed new zinc production facility. We want to emphatically reiterate our commitment to the protection of human health and the environment with respect to our planned operation - a core value of the two partners in WSP - and continuing to communicate and engage with our neighbors. We are targeting Tuesday August 20, 2019, for our next meeting with the community during which additional details regarding the project can be presented in a setting more conducive to personal interaction with members of the community. The more intimate setting will allow WSP representatives the opportunity to answer questions, address concerns and provide facts and accurate information we are confident will prove reassuring to its neighbors. We are keenly aware of the specific questions circulating in the community regarding mercury emissions and want to be lear that the facility will operate in compliance with environmental laws and in accordance with air regulations and its final air permit, all of which ensures an operation that protects human health and the envirnment. IDEM will not issue a final air permit without ensuring the safety and health of area residents. We support Representative Errington and Senator Lananes idea of IDEM holding a public hearing when the draft air permit is issued and continuing to carry out its mission of acting in the best interests of the citizens of Indiana.

Muncie City Council Meeting Aug 5, 2019

Various photographers

Girl holds sign with concerns over possible pollution from Zinc Oxide plant
Man wears high quality dust protection mask and protective plastic suit
Boy holds sign that reads “Don’t poison the air. We like it here.”
Man holds sign questioning Muncie allowing Toxic Steel Dust in our community
Boy and man hold signs outside Muncie City Council meeting in protest of Waelz factory
Overflow crowd waiting outside The Muncie City building at Aug 5, 2019 City Council meeting
Rally at Muncie City Council on August 5, 2019

Democracy is not a spectator sport

Videos of the City Council meeting on Aug 5, 2019, coverage of the upcoming meeting on Channel 6, and a video of children chanting “Please don’t poison us!”

Video of The Muncie City Council meeting

Video: After Council President left the building

Channel 6 was covering the rally but missed the fireworks at the end of the meeting.

The Indy Channel

 

Photos from Josh Arthur’s post in Change of Plans Click picture to visit the event on Facebook
  • regulation of pollution sources by control and penalties;

  • inspection and monitoring;

  • full disclosure of pollution data;

  • incentives to accelerate pollution control;

Thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council, this is for those of you who will want to…

Speak Out for Our National Forests

The Trump Administration is proposing to dramatically weaken the rules that govern environmental review and public input for management activities in America’s national forests. The result, if these changes become final, is that major forest management projects including logging and road building that affect thousands of acres will be virtually exempt from environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Furthermore, the public will lose its opportunity for meaningful input into these management decisions. For Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, every logging project over the last 15 years would have been excluded from public comment and environmental analysis requirements under the proposed rules.

Take Action: 

Read our blog and take action today. Comments are due by August 12th.

The blog reference is:

https://www.hecweb.org/2019/07/31/trump-administration-seeks-to-reduce-oversight-and-public-notice-for-national-forest-logging-projects/

At the end of the blog you can click on the “public participation portal” that gets you to a quick way to submit your individual comment. 

 

Liz Solberg and Dave Simcox, on behalf also of Lisa Harris and Jeanette Neagu
LWVIN Natural Resources Advocacy Coordination

Change of Plans: Mercury, Lead in our Systems

 

Josh Arthur > ‎Change of Plans – Mercury, Lead in Our Systems Yesterday at 10:04 AM · Public · in Photos from Josh Arthur’s post in Change of Plans – Mercury, Lead in Our Systems

CITY HALL – MONDAY – 7:30p – 8/5

Please change your Monday plans so you and your people can attend. We want to show 1000 strong in solidarity for the future of our community.

As you’ve read, there are plans for the largest facility emitting airborne mercury pollution in the United States to open on Kilgore. It would be 15th in the United States in lead emissions. That’s 5x more lead than Exide, and 10x more particulates than Exide.

 

*Consider asking council members to reconsider their votes in favor of tax abatement for this proposed facility.*

 

Our council members would love to hear your thoughts about this:

Map of Districts:

http://www.cityofmuncie.com/documents/MuncieCityCouncilDistricts_2017-1.jpg

Districts 1-3

Doug Marshall
District #1
dougmarshall@comcast.net
district1@cityofmuncie.com
(765)702-7951

Dan Ridenour
District #2
dan.ridenour@yahoo.com
district2@cityofmuncie.com
(765)760-2118

Lynn Peters
District #3
district3@cityofmuncie.com
(765)729-8138

Districts 4-6

Brad Polk
District #4
bpolkdist4@gmail.org
district4@cityofmuncie.com
(765)717-5498

Jerry Dishman
District #5
dishjd@netscape.net
district5@cityofmuncie.com
(765)215-9747

Julius Anderson
District #6
jjanders125@gmail.com
district6@cityofmuncie.com
(765)289-6639

Districts At-Large

Denise Moore
At-Large
dmoore1956@hotmail.com
(765)215-1660

Linda Gregory
At-Large
lindagregory@comcast.net
(765)286-2925

Nora Powell
At-Large
npowellmuncie@gmail.com
(765)284-3991

 

Please stay up to date with this event as more content is added.

Further details for the City Council meeting and contacting IDEM are forthcoming on Facebook.

https://m.facebook.com/events/374940503196029/?active_tab=about

Expect Beautiful


2019 White River Cleanup:  September 21

Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful has announced September 21 for the White River Cleanup from 8AM to 12PM at Westside Park.  Registration will be available July 2019.

From beautifulmuncie.org

The White River Cleanup happens each September, and is a statewide public service event stretching along much of the White River.  Many counties including Delaware, Hamilton, Monroe, Madison and Morgan Counties participate in cleaning up the White River on or near the same date.  Thousands of pounds of trash are removed every year including large amounts of tires.

Volunteers walk the bank, river and land where possible removing debris from and around the river. When that is not possible, volunteers use canoes to navigate through the water filling them up along the way with the debris they find.

The White River Cleanup is sponsored by the Stormwater Management Department and organized by Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful.

2019 White River Cleanup:

  September 21

from 8AM to 12PM at Westside Park
Registration will be available July 2019

Muncie-Delaware Clean and Beautiful

Visit

beautifulmuncie.org

 

Ride for the Mounds:

September 14, 2019

Bicycle distances are 15, 25, 45 miles.

Show your support for Mounds Greenway by joining Ride for the Mounds on September 14, 2019, 12 noon, at Canoe Country in Daleville.  Tour the Mounds Greenway Corridor to see all the greenway seeks to conserve and connect.  Bicycle distances are 15, 25, 45 miles.

Canoe Country in Daleville

September 14, 2019, 12 noon, at Canoe Country in Daleville.

Online Information:

http://www.moundsgreenway.com

Email: bweaver@hecweb.org

 

Canoe Country
12 Noon
September 14, 2019

Ride for the Mounds