Building on his reputation for being a friend of big business and a not-so-good friend of the environment, Daniels has decided that the environmental management division can manage just fine without an enforcement division. In his “Possibilities Unbound Plan” of 2005, one of the Guv’s goals was to make Indiana more business friendly by “streamlining” the regulatory process. Meaning – get rid of as many regulations as possible.
Apparently he is starting with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) by closing its enforcement division. The employees will be relocated into the air, land, and water departments where presumably they will continue to enforce regulations. But the old adage of “out of sight – out of mind” certainly has the potential to apply to the workers and their efforts.
The truly sad thing is that Daniels simply doesn’t care. After all IDEM is responsible for overseeing and issuing the Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) permits, and his goal is to double pork production in the next few years. Without the enforcement division, CAFO owners will not face the scrutiny needed to keep them in line.
Currently, all a potential CAFO owner has to do is send in a properly prepared application, and, bingo, it is approved. Our legislature has done little to establish any standards for CAFOs and county officials are confused and befuddled when it comes to actually implanting some semblance of regulations to govern local CAFOs. Without an enforcement division, CAFOs and their owners will have the CAFO-friendly business environemnt that they want and Daniels will continue to turn a blind eye to the damage CAFOs can cause – all to prop up his goal of increased pork production.
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IDEM also is adopting new policies that narrow the definition of environmental harm and investigate only after the environmental damage has been done. State officials charged with protecting people from environmental law violations will instead be asking Hoosiers to prove they were harmed by such things as chemical spills, air pollution that exceeds permitted standards or animal feces flowing freely into state waterways.
Look for Daniels to increasingly back off on environmental regulatory compliance as he pushes and shoves his way toward making the state more “economically friendly” toward big business, in general, and CAFOs, in particular.