Our view: Enviro regs needed; pollutant ranking an embarrassment
April 24, 2012 2:30PM
Cline Avenue bridge at bottom as it crosses the Indiana Harbor Canal in East Chicago photographed Dec. 11, 2009. | Archive~Sun-Times Media
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:04AM
Sen. Richard Lugar and his Republican primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, need to read a recent report from a national environmental policy group before their next tirade against environmental regulations.
At their debate April 11, Lugar and Mourdock advocated relaxing government regulations on businesses. Meanwhile, Indiana leads the nation in the amount of toxic pollution companies are dumping into waterways.
The report from Environment America found that Indiana factories discharged more than 27 million pounds of pollutants into the state’s rivers and streams, the highest amount from any state.
Virginia was ranked second with more than 18 million pounds of toxic discharge. The study is based on 2010 data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxic Release Inventory.
According to the study, one of the worst polluters in the state was the AK Steel plant in Rockport, which had the highest discharges into the Ohio River in 2010. The company released 24 million pounds — more than two-thirds of the pollutants discharged into the Ohio River from the states that line the river.
Shelley Vinyard, a spokeswoman from the Washington-based environmental group said the Ohio River was, by far, “one of the most polluted waterways in the nation.” Although the Ohio River received the most discharged pollutants among the state’s rivers and streams, the Grand Calumet came in second.
Complaints about how environmental regulations are handcuffing businesses are a common refrain from many Hoosier candidates. Unfortunately, there is too little reflection on why pollution limits are needed.
State leaders are quick to tout Indiana’s lax regulations to attract employers. But employers don’t want to bring their employees to a state that is an environmental dump.
Quality of life also matters, and Indiana’s poor record on environmental protection is an embarrassment for all Hoosiers.
— (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette