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Nearly a dozen groups ask Holcomb to veto legislation on state coal ash rules

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Community, Environment, Government, Politics
Coal ash ponds at the Clifty Creek coal plant sit right along the Ohio River. (Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)

Groups concerned about coal ash pollution are asking the governor to veto a bill that wouldn’t let Indiana set stricter coal ash rules than federal ones. Eleven groups signed on to a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday — including Just Transition Northwest Indiana, Confront the Climate Crisis and League of Women Voters.

The waste leftover from burning coal can have toxic heavy metals like mercury, cadmium and arsenic – which can get into the groundwater and pollute local drinking water sources.

Among other things, the groups worry the bill could prevent the Indiana Department of Environmental Management from doing what’s best to handle toxic coal ash in the state.

READ MORE: Bill to keep Indiana from setting stricter coal ash rules heads to governor

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IDEM is in the middle of creating a state permitting program for coal ash based on a law passed two years ago. The Hoosier Environmental Council said because the federal government hasn’t finalized guidelines for state programs like this, the bill could call into question anything Indiana has done to regulate coal ash that isn’t spelled out in federal rules.

Holcomb has until May 8 to sign, veto or let the bill become law without his signature.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.