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State must seek EPA approval before reclassifying ethanol plants

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Even though the Environmental Protection Agency changed a rule to exclude ethanol plants from the category of chemical process plants which would affect emissions permitting, Indiana had to seek approval from the federal agency before it could reclassify the ethanol production facilities.

In 2010, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management issued permits to some fuel-grade ethanol production facilities which did not categorize them as “chemical process plants,” as had been the case in the past. Those that fall under the chemical process plant category are permitted to emit only 100 tons of certain air pollutants a year. Other facilities not under that category may emit up to 250 tons of certain air pollutants a year.

The Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the reclassification, which led IDEM’s Office of Environmental Adjudication to find the plants should have been considered under the chemical process plants category. But the Marion Superior Court reversed.

The issue before the Indiana Court of Appeals is whether the state could properly exclude fuel-grade ethanol plants from this category without EPA approval of a modification of the Indiana State Implementation Plan.

The last EPA-approved SIP from 2001 includes these plants as chemical process plants. In 2007, the EPA promulgated a final rule excluding the ethanol plants from the definition of “chemical process plant.” Indiana never sought approval from the EPA to change its SIP but did enact a new law and administrative rule making the modifications.

“As the EPA rule change was more than a mere ‘clarification,’ Indiana was obliged to seek approval of an amendment to its SIP. Because it did not, the OEA was correct that the facilities were chemical process plants pursuant to the Indiana SIP and permits allowing pollutant emissions at the 250 ton-per-year level should not have been issued absent an EPA-approved change in the Indiana SIP,” Judge Melissa May wrote in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Poet Biorefining-North Manchester, LLC; Poet Biorefining-Cloverdale, LLC; Central Indiana Ethanol, Inc., et al., 49A02-1205-MI-423.

“Even if the failure to amend Indiana SIP could be disregarded, as the appellees suggest, IDEM’s past consistent treatment of fuel ethanol plants as chemical process plants would dictate the result we reach,” she continued. “Because IDEM had, in its prior permitting decisions, given the term ‘chemical process plant’ a ‘definitive interpretation, and later significantly revise[d] that interpretation,’ it was obliged to seek EPA approval for an amended SIP.”

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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