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Indiana State Legislative Update

03.17.2014

By Kate E. Beatty, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

March 14, 2014 marked the end of the short session of the Indiana General Assembly. Of the 882 bills introduced, not counting simple and concurrent resolutions, only 225 became Enrolled Acts. This short session was focused on primarily criminal justice reform, Indiana’s tax climate and a proposal to amend the state Constitution regarding the definition of marriage. As a result, only a handful of bills that address energy, the environment and farming have progressed.

The following bills represent a selection of the energy, environmental and farm legislation that became Enrolled Acts.

House Bill No. 1121 – Administrative Adjudication

This bill would allow one agency to share an administrative law judge with another agency under the following circumstances: (1) to avoid bias, prejudice, interest in the outcome, or another conflict of interest; (2) if a party requests a change of administrative law judge; (3) to ease scheduling difficulties; or (4) for another good cause. If the administrative law judge is not the ultimate authority or a member of an ultimate authority then the designated administrative law judge must be an attorney licensed to practice law in Indiana or have served as an administrative law judge for a state agency prior to Jan. 1, 2014.

Additionally, this bill, upon passage, requires the inspector general to adopt rules to implement a statewide code of judicial conduct for administrative law judges.

This bill will be effective July 1, 2014.

House Bill No. 1183 – Recycling Reporting, State Goal and Study

This bill establishes a state goal of recycling at least 50 percent of all municipal waste. This bill provides that a recycler, or a person who recycles recyclable materials (e.g., glass, ferrous and nonferrous metal, paper and paper products, plastic and plastic products), must either submit quarterly or annual reports to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). The report would include, in addition to other facility information, the quantity, in tons, of each type of recyclable material that was either stored at or transported from the reporting recycler’s establishment. The information submitted to IDEM on the quarterly or annual reports will be combined in a summary of the recycling activity for the fiscal year.

In addition to creating a recycling reporting requirement, this bill also calls for an interim study committee to produce a report by no later than Nov. 1, 2014, that analyzes and reviews various policy and stakeholder involvement aimed at increasing the amount of municipal waste recycled in Indiana.

The portion of the bill establishing the recycling reporting requirements and the interim study committee is effective upon passage.

House Bill No. 1217 – Environmental Permits Concerning Agriculture, Wetlands, and Parks

This bill, in part, provides that a confined feeding operation (CFO) or a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) is exempt from obtaining a construction or operation permit for its on-site agricultural waste-to-energy system (i.e., anaerobic digester) that annually processes at least 50 percent of the manure produced by the CFO or CAFO, so long as the agricultural waste-to-energy system’s actual emissions do not exceed the threshold limits beyond those emissions of the pollutant under Title V of the Clean Air Act or the area where the agricultural waste-to-energy system is located is not in a nonattainment area designated by the U.S. EPA with respect for a pollutant emitted by the system.

The agricultural waste-to-energy system portion of the bill is effective upon passage.

Senate Bill No. 101 – Agricultural Operations and Trespass

This bill provides that if a person recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally damages the property of an agricultural operation commits institutional criminal mischief. The offense would be a Level 6 felony if the property damage to the agricultural operation is at least $750 but less than $50,000 and a Level 5 felony if the property damage is at least $50,000.

This bill also provides that a person commits criminal trespass if, without the owner’s permission, enters either (1) the portion of an agricultural operation that is used for production, processing, propagation, packaging, cultivation, harvesting, etc., or (2) the real property of the agricultural operation and causes property damage.

This bill will be effective July 1, 2014.

Senate Bill No. 217 – Underground Storage Tank and Drainage Onsite Reviews

This bill provides that the annual registration fee for an underground storage tank shall be paid for tanks that have not been closed before January 1 of that year. The bill also clarifies that for an underground storage tank that consists of a single tank in which there are separate compartments, a separate fee shall be paid for each compartment within the single tank.

Additionally, for determining eligibility for payment of a tank owner’s or operator’s liability from the Excess Liability Trust Fund (ELTF) only registration fees paid in 1991 or later will be considered.

This bill will be effective July 1, 2014.

A digest of the 2014 Indiana General Assembly Enrolled Acts can be located at the following website: http://iga.in.gov/static-documents/4/2/f/5/42f5c42b/2014_DIGESTS_OF_ENACTMENTS.pdf.


To view a complete PDF of the Environmental Letter March 2014 Issue, click HERE.

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