State Rep. Ryan Dvorak: ‘Republican supermajority must account for the toxic mess they’ve made’

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Ryan Dvorak (D-South Bend) today called upon the leadership of the Indiana General Assembly to take immediate action to clean up our polluted state. Dvorak authored two of the 13 bills that died in the Indiana House Environmental Affairs Committee upon the committee report deadline after the chairman refused to schedule a single meeting. The majority of the legislation addressed pollution and the corresponding public health and climate consequences in Indiana.

“Indiana is in bad shape,” Dvorak said. “Its citizens are among the unhealthiest, suffer some of the highest rates of premature deaths and currently reside in the most polluted state in America. This is not hyperbole, it is simple fact. And the last decade of single-party Republican rule has done absolutely nothing to try to make things better.”

Dvorak’s bills in the committee specifically targeted fertilizer runoff and PFAS chemicals, often called ‘forever chemicals,’ because they do not break down naturally and exist seemingly everywhere. The legislation would require the state health department to establish maximum contaminant levels for these toxins linked to medical problems especially prevalent in Indiana - including cancer, kidney disease and pregnancy complications.

“The Hoosier State routinely ranks in the top ten states for cancer deaths, cancer risk, and infant and maternal mortality, and ranks in the bottom ten for public health and quality of life,” Dvorak said. “The unacceptable levels of toxic pollution permitted in this state forces Indiana residents to live in squalor, and we all suffer the consequences. It is both disgraceful and entirely preventable.

“You would think such abysmal rankings would elicit concern from our elected Representatives. Instead, the Republican chair of the Indiana House Environmental Affairs Committee has chosen to do nothing. It met zero times, held zero meetings, and took zero public testimony from anyone about anything at all.

“Soon we will, hopefully, be putting the COVID-19 crisis behind us,” Dvorak said, “but Hoosiers will still have among the worst public health, worst quality of life and lowest incomes in the country. We deserve better and must demand better.”

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