Letters to the Editor 2-18-16


Decision means nothing

To the Editor:

We saw the smoke, mirrors and pixy dust tonight (Monday, February 15th) that I said was coming last Thursday. Peters made a motion to cancel the insurance in January, 2017. The board voted unanimously! So what does that mean?


You cannot hold the newly elected board of January, 2017 to a motion you passed tonight. They could end it today and resign tomorrow or start paying the corporation for the next 10 months for their insurance plan. So we can only hope and pray the new board in January, 2017 gets it right.

The public needs to be there to remind the board in 2017 of what they said tonight. Still no apologies, no one resigned and we will spend nearly $80,000 this year to insure Roberts, Daugherty, Peters and Cord. Every time this year we see a fundraiser or our kids are told the school cannot afford something for the next 10 months we need to remind four of them where we can save some money. I did give them all 350+ signatures on the petition and all the comments. So where do we go from here?

Step 1: Start putting out good stories and fixing our community image!

Step 2: Work with our legislators to stop this from happening again here or in other counties in Indiana.

Step 3: Continue to educate the voters! We will remind voters about Roberts and Daugherty if they decide to run for re-election next year and then Peters and Cord less than three years from now.

Step 4: Be involved! Get to a meeting when you can and continue to hold these four accountable. They cannot be trusted!

Thanks to everyone for sharing, liking, commenting and spreading the word! I was approached by several people tonight who said they had no clue this was ever going on. This sudden change only happened because so many of you spoke out! And thanks to Bennett, Collier and Deck for doing what is right! Change is not always easy but certainly is needed.

Chris Oatman,


A good life

To the Editor:

I was ‘reared’ in the Dearborn County area from a baby till a few years ago, when God directed me to live here in the Switzerland County area. I have had a good life living here in our blessed country of the USA.

Then a few years ago, God directed me to live here in Switzerland County and since I have lived here – thanks to my deceased wife a couple of years ago – I have found God, and the most friendly, cordial people I have ever met. The people here in Switzerland County, Fredonia Church, the IGA store, the Senior Center, and all citizens of Vevay have treated me very kindly.

I have a birthday coming up next week, and I do not know when God is going to call me home, I would like to thank all of you fine people for a ‘good life’ on my 90th birthday.

God bless you all.

Harry Brown,

Bliss Lane

House Bill 1082

To the Editor:

Opinions are not facts. Rhetoric is not truth. Sadly, both opinion and rhetoric have replaced reason when it comes to claims about HB 1082.

Environmental activists and columnists have stated that it gives power to polluters. They claim it will allow environmental problems to go unregulated unless the federal government acts. What the bill actually does is make it absolutely clear that policy decisions which impact the citizens of Indiana are made by the General Assembly. That is exactly where policy decisions should be made.

When Indiana is implementing a regulation based upon federal law, we should stick to what federal law allows. When special circumstances arise that dictate we need additional regulatory oversight, the General Assembly should act and authorize it. In fact, the General Assembly has done so on many occasions and already provides IDEM with regulatory authority beyond what federal law allows in many instances.

In a recent column by Matthew Tully of The Indianapolis Star, Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council was credited for saying, “If it had been state law five years ago … Indiana would have been unable to address a permitting loophole in federal law regarding huge factory farms filled with hogs and chickens.” While farmers take offense to the continued criticism of livestock farming, they are more perplexed by the supposed “loophole” that existed that could not have been filled if HB 1082 were the law.

The fact is that under federal law, EPA could only require permits of businesses that actually discharged pollutants to waters. EPA had required certain sized livestock farms to obtain federally approved permits, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the EPA’s interpretation based upon lack of statutory authority because those farms did not discharge. But that court decision did not stop EPA or environmental groups from pushing to keep provisions in the state administered rules based upon the possibility that a “discharge” might happen. They were advocating that IDEM ignore the court’s reasoning and do something that EPA itself could not do if it was implementing the federal law in Indiana.

Farm Bureau led the charge to ensure that IDEM followed the federal statutory authority. Ultimately IDEM agreed that it was most appropriate to adopt the federal CAFO regulations (minus the provisions struck by the court). Then, Farm Bureau and other ag groups did what legislators and the press are being told would never happen. We all agreed that IDEM had authority under the confined feeding statutes to be more stringent than federal law and place greater restrictions on livestock farms.

Sure, there were and remain concerns with the severe restrictions on older livestock farms which had always complied with state and federal laws in place at the time they were constructed. However, that concern for the viability of farmers does not mean farmers do not respect the rule of law. What it means is that when there has been good cause for the General Assembly to act and authorize more stringent regulations on Indiana farms than federal law allows, we have been right there at the General Assembly working with IDEM to get the appropriate changes.

The reality is that farmers, just like any business, need certainty and reasonableness in regulations. That certainty and reasonableness can be harmonized with protection of the environment. HB 1082 reaches that balance. It maintains protections for the environment. It just makes it clear that the General Assembly sets the policy direction of the state, not someone in an agency who holds the cards in the rulemaking process.

Indiana Farm Bureau supports adoption of HB 1082. Its passage will not threaten the environment. It just ensures that IDEM does what it does best, implement the authority that is given to it federally via EPA, or statutorily by our state legislature. That really should not be controversial.

Justin Schneider

Senior Policy Advisor and Counsel

Indiana Farm Bureau