Legislation

State and Federal rules and regulations are an ever-changing part of the water resources community. This page will help the stormwater and floodplain professionals keep up-to-date with legislative changes, administrative rules, and other policies that may affect their community.

Indiana Construction General Permit (CGP)

IDEM is currently working on a replacement NPDES general permit to replace 327 IAC 15-5 (Rule 5). EPA is no longer allowing IDEM to put their NPDES general permits into the Indiana Administrative Code. In 2016, the Environmental Rules Board approved a new IAC rule which enables IDEM to issue general permits through EPA’s standard process. EPA is also requiring IDEM to expand certain key requirements as well as add new ones. IDEM has invited representatives from key stakeholder groups to provide input on the new CGP and INAFSM is one of these participating groups.  Kerry Daily, the current Legislative Committee Chair, serves as INAFSM’s representative to the CGP Advisory Group and if INAFSM members would like to provide input or comments on this draft permit, they should contact Kerry.

As of January 2018, IDEM has issued the first draft of the CGP, received comments on the draft CGP, and held several Advisory Group meetings to discuss the comments received.  IDEM then held several subgroup discussions on more specific issues to prepare the second draft of the CGP.  This second draft should be sent to Advisory Group members soon, however, no specific date has been set for issuance of the second draft or for future meetings.

The Fact Sheets below were developed by INAFSM to provide a greater understanding of the draft permit. One of the Fact Sheets is intended to serve as an Executive Summary and the other provides specific details.

Legislation

Bills of general interest that INAFSM is following include:

  • Senate Bill 361 (Charbonneau) would establish the Water Infrastructure Task Force.  The Task Force would address wastewater and drinking water issues in Indiana but not stormwater issues.  This bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs January 22, 2018 by an 8-0 vote and is now eligible for 2nd Reading in the Senate.
  • Senate Bill 386 (Ruckelshaus) concerns financing of flood control improvements and appears to be directed at portions of Indianapolis currently left out of the Indy North Levee Project (although the bill does allow the funding mechanism for any 1st or 2nd Class city).  This bill passed out of the Senate Committee on Local Government January 24, 2018 by a 5-1 vote and was forwarded to the House Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy.
  • Senate Bill 409 (Charbonneau) expands the reasons for a County Surveyor to maintain or reconstruct a regulated drain to include improved environmental conditions and flood control.  This bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs.
  • House Bill 1089 (Ober and Zent) concerns the St. Joseph River Basin Commission and allows expansion of the Commission’s functions and authority.  This bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Natural Resources.
  • House Bill 1267 (Soliday, Brown, Ober) is the House version of SB 361 but with a different, larger Water Infrastructure Task Force that would also address stormwater system issues.  This bill passed out of the House Committee on Local Government January 24, 2018 by a 13-0 vote and is now eligible for 2nd Reading in the House.
  • House Bill 1391 (Moed, Porter) is the House version of Senate Bill 386 and the House bill language appears to be identical to the original Senate bill language.  This bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Ways and Means.

Bills of special interest INAFSM is following and may testify on or take other action on include:

  • House Bill 1096 (Culver) would prohibit MS4 Operators from establishing rules more restrictive than state erosion and sediment control rules.  This bill passed out of the House Committee on Environmental Affairs January 24, 2018 by a 9-3 vote and is now eligible for 2nd Reading in the House. If the bill passes out of the House of Representatives and moves on to the Senate, INAFSM and other groups intend to contact the Senate sponsor of the bill to seek more favorable bill language.
  • House Bill 1096 Fact Sheet
    • UPDATE! (Feb 19, 2018)

      Lori Gates and Kerry Daily attended the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs meeting on February 22, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. for the hearing on House Bill 1096.  The hearing room was full and overflowing into the hallway.  Testimony started with Senator Blake Doriot presenting the bill and his reasons for being the Senate Sponsor and his explanation for an amendment to the bill that would (kind of sort of) allow any existing local rules that are more strict than current state rules to remain in effect.  However, if the local rules were ever opened up in the future they could be no more strict than whatever state rules was in effect at the time.  This amended grandfathering language would not apply to future local rules not yet in place.  

      Testimony then followed, generally alternating between groups opposing and supporting the bill.  There was a lot of good testimony against the bill from many groups and individuals, including Tippecanoe County Surveyor Zach Beasley and Noble County Planning Director Kenneth Hughes.  Kerry testified at about 11:50 a.m. (yes, the hearing was nearing two hours at that point!) against the bill on behalf of INAFSM, mainly pointing out that the amended bill still left too many questions concerning the status of local ordinances and standards and also that the bill was pointing to/referencing state “rules” that are currently undergoing revision.  

      Finally a little after 12:00 p.m. the committee voted on the bill and it did not pass out of committee by a vote of 6-5.  Two of the votes for the bill were cast with significant reservations and those Senators (Brown and Ruckelshaus) stated that would not support the current version of the bill on the Senate floor if it passed out of committee.  It is still possible that the bill could be further amended and brought back to the committee for a vote but it is not clear that this committee will meet again in the short amount of time left for committee work (less than 2 weeks).  The bill language could be inserted into another bill that is still active but the bill deals with a very controversial issue and other Senators are usually not in favor of adding a controversial topic to a bill that is moving along and not controversial.  So, we will continue to watch the bill and the bill language to see what happens.  Thanks to everyone for their support and work on this issue.
  • House Bill 1159 (Friend) seeks to revise the state dam regulations and significantly roll back dam owners responsibilities for state-required inspection and maintenance.  This bill has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Waters of the United States

The comment periods for the codification of the rule prior to the adopted rule and the proposed rule to replace the adopted rule have closed.  The United States Supreme Court recently ruled that challenges to the adopted rule should be heard in federal district courts, not appellate courts.  Apparently, this may allow the adopted rule, instead of the prior rule, to go into effect in some states before the replacement rule is in place. 

Legislative Committee Reports