Rockport plant opponents appeal quick permit extension

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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.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.