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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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