Indiana agencies couldn't create environmental rules tougher than federal restrictions under proposed bill

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By: Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bill Indiana lawmakers are considering that would prohibit state agencies from enacting environmental rules tougher than federal standards is headed for a hearing before a House committee.

The House Environment Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear testimony Wednesday on the measure sponsored by the panel’s chairman, Republican Rep. David Wolkins of Winona Lake.

Wolkins has sponsored similar bills in previous legislative sessions.

Environmentalists say the legislation would deal a setback to Indiana’s environmental protections by preventing state agencies from adopting rules or standards more stringent than U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The Hoosier Environmental Council says the EPA hasn’t always adequately protected the public from serious environmental problems such as livestock farm manure pits.

The group says Indiana needs the ability to sometimes adopt rules tougher than EPA standards.