ILNews

Rockport plant opponents appeal quick permit extension

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Environmental groups opposed to a controversial coal gasification plant proposed for southwest Indiana have asked for state administrative review of a permit that was extended without a hearing on the day it was set to expire.

The Sierra Club and Valley Watch, Inc. filed a petition for administrative review of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s permit renewal because they say it was done without public notice. The groups contend notice and perhaps hearings are required under the state’s administrative code. The petition is filed with the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication.

IDEM more than 18 months ago issued a “Prevention of Significant Deterioration New Source Construction/Part 70 Operating Permit” for the facility proposed to be built in Rockport by Indiana Gasification, LLC, a subsidiary of hedge fund Leucadia National Corp. The Rockport plant project manager is Mark Lubbers, a one-time aide to former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who championed the project.

The permit issued in June 2012 was set to expire Dec. 28, 2013, according to IDEM. The petitioners say 326 IAC 2-2-8(a)(l) stipulates such permits “shall become invalid” if construction hasn’t started within 18 months. IDEM extended the permit on Dec. 26, the same day Indiana Gasification filed a permit amendment application, according to the petition. It says IDEM violated its rules in doing so.

“IDEM’s failures to follow public notice procedures or provide a justification for the extension in the Permit Amendment not only renders the Permit Amendment invalid and the PSD Permit expired, but they deprived the Petitioners their right to know and to comment upon the basis for IDEM’s decision,” the petition concludes.

IDEM spokesman Dan Goldblatt said that under the federal Clean Air Act, the agency was not required to conduct hearings on an extension that did not constitute a modification of the existing permit.

Goldblatt said in a statement Wednesday the extension request was processed pursuant to Indiana’s federally approved State Implementation Plan rule, 326 IAC 2-2-8(a), which does not require a 30-day notice and comment period. He said notice was provided to interested parties including Sierra Club and Valley Watch.

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

ADVERTISEMENT