State Reps. Sue Errington, Pat Boy frustrated by General Assembly’s failure to study environmental issues

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Reps. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and Pat Boy (D-Michigan City) expressed frustration at the news that the Interim Study Committee on Environmental Affairs will not meet during the 2021 Interim, and therefore, none of their proposed environmental topics will be studied this year.

Errington, who also serves as Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Environmental Affairs, submitted a proposal for an Interim Committee to study the cause and impact of Indiana's declining pollinator population, which includes bees and butterflies. The study would also produce recommendations for programs to revitalize the pollinator population.

Boy, a member of the House Committee on Environmental Affairs, proposed that the General Assembly use the Interim to do an in-depth review of the benefits of Indiana's wetlands, in response to the controversial bill, SEA 389, being signed into law. Boy also proposed that an Interim Committee be tasked with studying the issue of how to safely dispose of coal ash, which can have significant impacts on Hoosier health and the environment if allowed to contaminate Indiana's water supplies.

Neither these nor any other environmental topics submitted by state legislators were approved for study. The Interim Study Committee on Environmental Affairs will follow the lead of its House counterpart, which failed to meet to hear any introduced House bills, including three authored by Boy.

“I'm shocked at the blatant disregard the supermajority has shown for Indiana's environment,” Boy said.

“The effects of our state's pollution are staring us in the face with these rough storms, increased flooding and cold temperatures in the middle of May. To choose to ignore these issues, especially given Indiana's appalling environmental health ranking, is not only irresponsible, but dangerous.”

Indiana currently ranks 48th in the nation in overall environmental health and actually leads the nation in toxic chemical releases. 

“I'm incredibly frustrated that the supermajority isn't even offering to study these major environmental problems,” Errington said.

“Indiana's environment is one of the worst in the nation and the General Assembly has done nothing but exacerbate the issue through legislation like SEA 389. Combatting climate change is not something that can be put off. We will eventually get to a point-of-no-return and then we'll only be able to look back and regret the action we didn't take.”

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