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Bills We Are Watching

BAD BILL ALERT: URGENT ACTION NEEDED!

Ask Your Senator to VOTE NO on HB 1399

We are once again raising awareness about another bad bill in front of the legislature this session that will impact our water. TAKE ACTION NOW to help prevent this dangerous bill from becoming law.

HB 1399 attempts to put arbitrary limits on the definition (and therefore regulation) of PFAS chemicals, a very dangerous class of chemicals commonly referred to as ‘forever chemicals’.

The problem is that we cannot, with confidence, identify which PFAS are “safe” or even “relatively safe.”

The bill’s authors may want to convince our legislature that we can reliably divide PFAS into categories such as:

  • polymers versus non-polymers,
  • soluble versus non-soluble,
  • long-chain versus short-chain,

and so on and regard one category or the other as “safe.”

But we don’t know enough yet to put our confidence in these distinctions and write them into law and regulations or to carve out categories to exclude from our laws and regulations.

HB 1399, however, tries to do that, assumes that we do know what we don’t know yet, and asks us to take somebody’s word for it. Whose word? The chemical industry.

HB 1399 asks us to trust the PFAS makers’ word about which of their products don’t need to be subject to regulation and by doing so, bet the health and safety of every Hoosier on their word by writing their definition into the Indiana Code.

Here’s what we are asking our legislators and bill’s proponents about the definitions in HB 1399.

Do we know, and on what basis do we know, that the PFAS which HB 1399 would exclude from regulation…

  • Will not flake off, leak from, or leach out of the products in which they are used?
  • Do not break down in the environment over time?
  • Do not pass through wastewater or drinking water treatment systems?
  • Do not bioaccumulate in plants or animals that humans consume?
  • Do not bioaccumulate in humans?
  • Are not toxic to humans? Especially when many have known carcinogenic effects.

We are not able to confidently answer “yes” to all six of those questions.

Nobody knows what PFAS are safe and at what levels of exposure, and the allegedly safer ones break down into ones we’re pretty sure aren’t safe. Maybe someday we’ll know enough to have definitions and categories we can be confident of. But not today.

Please ask your senator to VOTE NO on HB 1399.

Senate Environmental Affairs Committee

  • Rick Niemeyer
    s6@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9489
  • Andy Zay
    s17@iga.in.gov
    317-234-9441
  • Scott Baldwin
    s20@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9533
  • Eric Bassler
    s39@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9414
  • Jim Buck
    s21@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9466
  • David Niezgodski
    s10@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9491
  • Greg Taylor
    s33@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9432
  • Shelli Yoder
    s40@iga.in.gov
    317-232-9532
  • Cyndi Carrasco
    s36@iga.in.gov
    800-382-9467
  • Dan Dernulc
    s1@iga.in.gov
    800-382-9467
  • Greg Goode
    s38@iga.in.gov
    800-382-9467

Other Bills We Are Watching

You can find the current status of these bills HERE.

Wetlands

  • HB 1403 (Boy) – Amends the state’s wetland definition and classification system to be based on assessment of hydrologic function.
  • SB 246 (Glick) – Allows property owners to have certain wetlands designated as wildlands for property tax assessment.

Groundwater Withdrawals

  • HB 1305 (Negele) and SB 249 (Deery, Alting, Charbonneau) – Requires a permit from the Natural Resources Commission for any groundwater withdrawal facilities capable of pumping more than 10 mgd, if the primary use is commercial and/or industrial and the water will be transported 20 miles or more from the point of extraction.

Floodplain Maps and Designation

  • HB 1394 (Abbott) – Changes the requirements for use of IDNR’s “best available” floodplain mapping when a property owner seeks a permit for construction in or near a floodplain.
  • HB 1401 (Lindauer) – Requires IDNR to notify individuals if their property has been designated as being in a floodway or floodplain or has been designated as not being in a floodway or floodplain.

Logjam and Debris Removal in Streams

  • HB 1401 (Lindauer) and SB 184 (Raatz) – Allows individuals to engage in removal of logs in a channel or floodway without a permit or a license.
  • SB 140 (Leising) – Allows individuals to remove logs in streams without having to enter the stream, and clarifies that burning logs is an acceptable method of their disposal. Referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee

Drainage Handbook

  • HB 1417 (Baird) and SB 105 (Leising) – Directs the ISDA to undertake an updating of the Indiana Drainage Handbook.

Septic Systems

  • HB 1060 (Aylesworth) – Requires septic system inspection and disclosure of septic system condition prior to property transfer.
  • HB 1329 (Pressel) – Prohibits local governments from requiring septic system inspections as a condition of property transfer.
  • HB 1352 (Morris) – Prohibits local officials from conducting inspections of residential septic systems unless the manufacturer of the system requires multiple inspections per year.

Water Quality Standards

  • HB 1085 (Dvorak) — Requires the Indiana Department of Health to establish state maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS in water provided by public water systems and that the state MCLs be no less stringent than federal MCLs.
  • HB 1399 (Lindauer) – Defines “PFAS chemicals” and requires the Environmental Rules Board to use this statutory definition. Referred to the House Environmental Affairs Committee

Consolidating or Extending Utility Service

  • SB 247 (Koch) – Simplifies the process for purchasing small water and wastewater utilities.
  • SB 259 (Qaddoura) – Allows cities to designate wastewater facility improvement districts and allocate a portion of incremental property tax revenues within such districts to connecting properties in the district to the municipal sewer system.
  • SB 288 (Niemeyer) – Simplifies the process for extending water or wastewater utility service to a school.

Miscellaneous

  • HB 1172 (Hamilton) – Creates a state committee to report on climate change impacts in Indiana.
  • HB 1402 (Smaltz) – Authorizes local building departments to issue construction permits for planned buildings on the shoreline of a lake or in a floodway, and removes the requirement to get a permit from IDNR.
  • HB 1404 (Boy) – If coal ash is to be used for “structural fill,” it might be fully encapsulated in cement or concrete. SB 5 (Koch) – Allows utilities to replace customer-owned lead service lines even if the customer declines to participate in service line replacement.
  • SB 218 (Ford, J.D.) – Adds two elected seats to the IURC.
  • SB 271 (Ford, J.D.) – Designates the IFA as the lead state agency for water resource data and directs the IFA to coordinate statewide water planning.
  • HB 1108 (Hall) – Bars local governments from prohibiting development on slopes with a gradient of less than 25%.