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Indiana Joins Lawsuit Challenging EPA Water Rule

Office of the Attorney General

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the Hoosier State will join a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s new water rule.  Zoeller says he’s concerned about the potential cost to the state’s agricultural industry.

The EPA recently finalized a rule broadening the definition of “waters of the United States” – that is, which bodies of water fall under federal regulation.  The term would now include small bodies of water, including streams, ponds, and drainage ditches.  Regulating those types of small waterways has always been left up to the states. 

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the new rule represents significant federal intrusion on state sovereignty, while both U-S Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly have expressed concern about the potential cost to farmers. 

But Hoosier Environmental Council Water Policy Director Kim Ferraro says she doesn’t think Hoosier farmers and businesses will incur new costs. 

Ferraro paints the pushback as politically motivated.

“We’re seeing industries and state governments that have Big Ag or other big industries that they’re trying to protect push back against all sorts of EPA regulations that are very clearly needed to protect public health and the environment,” Ferraro says. “And I think this is just one more of those.”

Nine states filed a challenge to the EPA rule last week; Indiana will join that suit.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.