HB 1082 Disproportionately Impact Environmental Justice, Meaningful Engagement&the Clean Power Plan

Source: HB 1082 Disproportionately Impact Environmental Justice, Meaningful Engagement&the Clean Power Plan


HB 1082 Disproportionately Impact Environmental Justice, Meaningful Engagement&the Clean Power Plan



The Proposed Law “No More Stringent Than” will create significant, real obstacles for our state regulators.

First, the proposed law will impose additional costs on state agencies over and above the usual costs of rulemaking, in terms of staff time, money, and available expertise, most state budgets are already strained keeping with Federal regulations.

Second, the proposed law raises tendency to single out for further scrutiny—by executive branch overseers, lawmakers, and the public—proposed regulations that are more stringent than the federal baseline. Although state rulemaking is always a public process, the presumption that seems to underlie qualified stringency provisions is that a more-stringent state regulation is unnecessary or unjustified until proven otherwise.

Third, these provisions can, expressly or impliedly, place an agency in the difficult position of arguing that the federal rule is insufficient to protect the people of the state— rather than simply explaining why the proposed more-stringent regulation is more protective. Together, these considerations create a disincentive for state agencies to pursue more-stringent regulations. And even when agencies decide to proceed in the face of qualified stringency requirements, they must bear opportunity costs in terms of other regulatory initiatives that will receive correspondingly fewer agency resources according to Environmental Law Institute,2013.

According to Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

“no stricter than” law are that federal regulations are not necessarily aligned with the needs and the constituent desires in Indiana, that such a law is just an obstacle when a stricter rule is needed and symbolic otherwise, that such a law prevents the state from being a ‘laboratory’ for environmental policy, and that such a law improperly prioritizes the interests of businesses over individual state citizens.[1]

How Does This Proposed Law Compare to Similar Laws In Other States?       The proposed law, in its current form, appears much more stringent than similar laws in other states. First, by applying the law to all environmental rules under the purview of the ERB and IDEM the proposed law is very broad. Most states with some form of “no more stringent than federal” law in the environmental context direct the law to a specific concern or at least a specific medium (e.g. water).[2] Second, most states with such a law provides an exception that is less burdensome than the specific statutory authorization exception in HB 1082.[3] For example, the state with the closest law to HB 1082, Oklahoma, still has a significantly less burdensome exception. Oklahoma law requires a written statement of economic impact and environmental benefit be submitted to the governor and Legislature before any ‘more stringent’ rules can be adopted

Environmental Justice Perspective-

In terms of EJ concerns, the effect of this proposed law would presumably not be to make disadvantaged communities any worse-off environmentally than under the status quo, but it could impede efforts to improve conditions for those communities. AND OF COURSE WHEN Conditions in EJ communities of concern, would still require action from IDEM if falling short of federal standards.

Yet, if conditions in such communities in Indiana were at the bare minimum for federal standards – or if federal standards specified a larger area of assessment such that the plight of the community of concern is buried in a compliant average – any efforts to improve the conditions would face a serious impediment in addition to the usual political and economic obstacles facing any such effort.

For example, assuming a situation where the NAACP, on behalf of EJ communities reached out to IDEM would have been enough to secure extra monitoring of air quality WITHIN AN EJ COMMUNITY beyond federal minimum requirements under the status quo, the same outcome would require additional reaching out to sufficiently to secure a majority in the General Assembly to authorize this rule, as well as additional time for the legislature to pass the legislation, relative to an IDEM Rule making process, and a time restriction in the form of the Assembly’s legislative session.


This proposed law will dismiss any meaningful engagement, as proposed by the Clean Power Plan (ALBIET IN A STAY WITH SCOTUS), whereas, Environmental Justice Communities will not have the means to effectively reach out to IDEM if what the communities seeks is more stringent than the EPA current requirements for Indiana.  This proposed law will disproportionately impact EJ communities.







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Abdul-Rahman, receives Environmentalist of the Year

Thank you to President & Chair of the Board Tom Barrett, Executive Director Jesse Kharbanda and all of Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) for honoring Denise Abdul-Rahman, NAACP Indiana Environmental Climate Justice Chair with the 

HEC Environmentalist of the Year Award.


Abdul-Rahman says “It has been an honor to collaborate with HEC on environmental policy. We have supported the opposition to HB 1143 No more Stringent Than, we opposed Senate Resolution regarding ozone and smog, and we helped HEC increase its engagement in Lake County with air monitoring kits”

Abdul-Rahman even supported correspondence to Marion County Health advocating for water testing at Indianapolis Power and Light, Harding Street Power Plant site. 

Abdul-Rahman says she “holds the award up

  • To grassroots leaders embedded in the trenches. 
  • I hold the award up, In honor of Dr. Amos Brown, III Servant Leader, Demographer, Chronicler of Indianapolis Communities
  • I hold the award up, In solidarity to All subjected to terror, to Paris, France and the piano player in the streets of Paris playing John Lennon, Imagine. 
  • I hold this award up to our global and Indiana delegation to COP21 Paris,

Fear not, let us move onward and forward with deeper purpose, courage and conviction, Thank you.” from left to right, Denise Abdul-Rahman, Shannon Anderson, Amanda Shepherd, Lauren  Kastner and  Garrett Blad not pictured 

(Left to Right: Denise Abdul-Rahman, Shannon Anderson, Amanda Shepherd, Lauren Kastner and not pictured Garrett Blad)

Dr. Amos Brown, III, Me and Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Amos Brown was one of the major Intelligentsia of our community.  I personally admired how he debated positions for justice and equity fully backed by data and research, oh such wizardry.

I so wanted to call him, meet for coffee and ask him how he mastered extrapolating data and research on African Americans within Indiana and Indianapolis, oh so seamlessly.
My brief time with Amos involved seeing him in public and introducing my children to him, to include “Indiana Kid Governor,” getting Kid Governors photo opt, not mine and being on his show, only about five times, and then pushing the environmental climate justice agenda.

At Governor Pence announcement of HIP 2.0, Indiana Kid Governor meets Dr. Amos Brown, III
The most memorable time was just August the 4th, 2015,  Obama’s Clean Power Plan  as Amos stated “It’s the Presidents birthday.” I felt so honored to be on Amos’s show, although this time I had to phone in from Hampton, MA where I was attending a summer institute with the Center of Popular Economics.

This program was rigorous starting early morning, walking all over Smith College and ending a 9:00 pm at night. But I had to be ready for “Afternoons with Amos.” I had to study and prepare to know “Obama’s Clean Power Plan” and its goals for Indiana. I knew Amos would be beyond prepared and would not be lienent because he had a high standard and I always wanted to meet it and exceed it.

I shared how the Clean Power Plan would produce hundreds of thousands of jobs. I shared how Indiana’s plan is one of the least stringent plans out of all fifty states. Then I had to keep myself from laughing on the air when Amos said ‘wait a minute are you saying Indiana has the least stringent?, The Governor says this is the worse plan …since….for Indiana, well what’s wrong with Governor, did he not read the plan, did he get up on the wrong side of the bed or what?’

I really just wanted to laugh, but had to suck it up and respond, but that was being on Amos, smart, witty with great humor.

Another time I was privileged to air in the studio with Amos, we were introducing a national known African American Environmentalist Jerome Ringo. We were conversing about climate change, and Amos ask me something about Indianapolis Power and Light, he said ‘you have been on IPL so bad I’m surprised they haven’t cut off your electricity just for GP’

No I did not know Amos, personally, but I did get a couple of calls with some advice, and I still wish I had called and asked for a coffee meeting, but until then I will hang on to August 4,2015 when he said ‘Always a pleasure’


What is Climate Change?

By  Denise Abdul-Rahman, Environmental Climate Justice, NAACP, Indiana 

What is Climate Change?

Our climate (temperature and weather) are changing. It is changing because of carbon pollution (CO2) that is emitted into the air. 

These emissions come largely from industrial plants and from automobile emissions. Some studies even include meat consumption as a major factor. 

Whatever the cause we have huge gigaton of carbon emitted and it is warming our beautiful planet over 2 degrees Celsius and fast approaching 4 degrees Celsius. 

This warming causes the glaciers to melt and when the enormous glaciers melt the sea levels rise, this rise has and will create flooding. 

Scientists say in 50 years islands like Haiti, Dominican Republic will be engulfed by water. Washington, DC and U.S. states have water for borders will be pushed further inland. 

There are extreme weather consequences too. This impact the most vulnerable people, low income and communities of color. These communities are face few resources, no preparedness plans, high unemployment, thus poverty and no reserves.  These communities reside in food deserts, most negatively impacted by high rising cost of agricultural yield, due to droughts and floods. 

These are reasons why there is a climate change agreement among 46 nations to reduce carbon pollution. This meeting is called Conference of Parties and this December in Paris, France, will be the 21st meeting and thus it is called COP21. 

The challenge is developed countries like the U.S. and China emit far more than underdeveloped countries therefore we should do more to reduce carbon pollution. This COP21 Climate agreement is voluntary and it should be mandatory. 

We should act on climate change with a fierce urgency of now to reduce our carbon emissions individually, locally, nationally and globally. 

We should act on climate change now!  It is a moral, civil and human right. 

IN NAACP on Amos Brown discussing the President Obama’s Clean Power Plan

President Obama On Clean Power Plan/ Getty, Also on the program, reaction from a top local environmental leader to President Barack Obama‘s Clean Power Plan, announced Monday that’s designed to reduce Global Warming and pollution by 2030. The plan has already been bitterly attacked by Governor Mike Pence who vows to defy the President’s proposal and fight it in court. Denise Abdul-Rahman, of the Indiana NAACP’s Environment Committee explained the President’s plan and why it would be beneficial for our African-American community. Abdul-Rahman believes that the opportunity for jobs in solar power and wind power would greatly benefit the Black community under the President’s proposal.
Click here IN NAACP on Amos Brown

 The Afternoons with Amos PODCAST For Tuesday, August 4, 2015 Runs 102 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One. PODCAST Starts After Brief Video Ad.

Indiana NAACP Environmental Climate Justice Chair, Denise Abdul-Rahman Speaks at Indiana Mama Summit April 8, 2015 at the Indiana State House

Indiana Green Outreach June 12, 2015

Good Morning and Thank you to Wendy, and all the Momma’s and Papa’s, Grand’s, and Children, Standing for clean air, healthy communities, standing for our children and environmental climate justice.

1‘Indiana is hooked on coal- and that addiction has remained constant for decades.  While many states and countries are moving toward cleaner energy sources, est. 85% of Indiana’s electricity comes from coal- fired power plants.’
2’Coal burning is- and has always been-deadly.  According to Journalist Jeff Goodell, quoted in the NAACP Coal Blooded Report, says coals effects on public health are now less apparent than they were.  50 years ago, in industrial states, people were still dropping dead in the streets on days air pollution was particularly bad.  In China and India they still are.  Now, in the US, in Indiana it happens in slow motion, and in ways that don’t translate easily to death Certificates.’
3According to our Harding Street Coal Plant Resolution formulated by the Indiana NAACP and the Black Nurses Association of Indianapolis, Inc.  Negative public health effects occurs in states with coal power plants including higher rates of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases and according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the top ten coal-energy producing states which includes the state of Indiana having an average 19% higher lung cancer death rate than the US average.  Prolonged exposures to toxins from these energy production facilities is tied to birth defects, heart disease, asthma attacks, lung disease, and learning difficulties, for example a black child is 3 times as likely to be admitted to the hospital and twice more likely to die from an asthma attack than a white child.  This is Our Quest for Environmental Justice—(Dr. Robert Bullards Book)
A recent scientific paper by Shane Evans, student of IU Robert McKinney School of Law, concluded that racial makeup, more specifically, the percent of people who identified as white alone, not Hispanic or Latino, is the most important demographic metric in determining the amount of pollution in 50 Hoosier cities and towns.
The Indiana NAACP Clean Power Plan Resolution calls for coal ash to be defined as “special waste” and calls for special disposal—-Drop the lawsuit against EPA Clean Power Plan.
The NAACP Resolution Promoting Equitable Access to Clean Energy calls for the United States and we are calling for the State of Indiana it’s Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to find ways to assure universal affordable access to a clean energy portfolio to prevent the recurrence of environmentally racist policies and practices that often contribute to disproportionately high rates of exposure to pollution from fossil fuel and nuclear based energy production and toxic wastes that have plagued African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and other communities of color and low income for decades.  
Stop Putting Profits Before The People

Indiana Green Outreach June 12, 2015