Month: January 2012

What should a rule making board look like?

SB 130, Senator Gard’s proposed legislation to consolidate the four environmental rule making boards into a single environmental rules board with 17 members, will be heard in the Senate Energy and Environmental Affairs Committee on Thursday January 12 at 1:30 PM in Room 233 of the Statehouse.

The new structure proposed in the bill is a significant change from where we are now.  Streamlining government can be a good thing, and the idea of a single board has a lot of merit.  Based on the nature of the programs, I suspect the majority of the rules considered by a consolidated board will be air pollution control rules.

There are three things about this proposed restructuring that I would change.

  1. Reduce the number of board members from 17 down to 7 or 9.  With a 17 person board, each individual board member’s vote has less value, which creates a disincentive for that person to really commit to being an engaged and effective board member.  A smaller board will have more engaged members and this will improve the quality of their discourse.
  2. Eliminate the five ex officio positions on the board or at the least strip them of their voting power.  Having nearly one third of board be employees of the state greatly diminishes the role of the remaining board members and consolidates too much power into the hands of the administration.
  3. The Commissioner of IDEM – and by this I mean any Commissioner of IDEM, not just the current one – should not be a member of the board.  The Commissioner should be the servant of the board, not a defacto master of the board.  You might have an appointed chair of the board, but in reality, the Commissioner will end up running the show.  That is not going to lead to an independent or diverse evaluation of the rules being offered up before the board.

There’s a companion version of this legislation embedded in a more lenghthy bill in the House.  You’ll find nearly identical language to consolidate the four boards into a single board in HB 1002.

Proposed legislation would consolidate environmental boards

On January 4, 2012 Senator Bev Gard of Greenfield introduced SB 130, a bill which proposes to consolidate the existing environmental rule making boards [air, financial assurance, solid waste, and water] into a single environmental rule making board.

This “super” board would consist of 17 members listed in the toggle below.  The new board would replace the current rule making boards and essentially operate in the same form and manner as the existing boards.

SB 130 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Energy and Environmental Affairs, which is chaired by Senator Gard.  It has not yet been scheduled for hearing.

Members of proposed new environmental rule making board

(1) The following ex officio members:

(A) The commissioner of the department of environmental management.

(B) The commissioner of the state department of health.

(C) The director of the department of natural resources.

(D) The lieutenant governor.

(E) The secretary of commerce or the secretary’s designee.

(2) The following twelve (12) members, who shall be appointed by the governor based on recommendations from representative constituencies:

(A) One (1) representative of agriculture.

(B) One (1) representative of manufacturing.

(C) One (1) representative of environmental interests.

(D) One (1) representative of labor.

(E) One (1) representative of local government.

(F) One (1) representative of small business.

(G) One (1) health professional who holds a license to practice in Indiana.

(H) One (1) representative of the solid waste management industry.

(I) One (1) representative of businesses that:

(i) own; or

(ii) engage in the sale of petroleum from;

one (1) or more underground storage tanks.

(J) One (1) representative of a public utility that engages in the production and transmission of electricity.

(K) Two (2) representatives of the general public, who cannot qualify to sit on the board under any of the other clauses in this subdivision.