Judge: Indiana agency violated rules on factory permit

Indiana’s environmental agency broke its own public comment rules when it issued an air pollution permit for a planned $2.5 billion coal-to-diesel plant, an administrative law judge ruled in siding with the plant’s opponents.

Posted: Feb 10, 2020 10:59 AM

EVANSVILLE, Ind (AP) — Indiana’s environmental agency broke its own public comment rules when it issued an air pollution permit for a planned $2.5 billion coal-to-diesel plant, an administrative law judge ruled in siding with the plant’s opponents.

Environmental Law Judge Catherine Gibbs agreed with the opponents' appeal that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, did not respond to a public records request before the 30-day public comment period ended for Riverview Energy's proposed project, the Evansville Courier and Press reported.

Gibbs is a judge with the Office of Environmental Adjudication, which hears appeals involving IDEM decisions.

Charles McPhedran, an attorney for Earthjustice who prepared the appeal on behalf of Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life and Valley Watch, said the judge has not issued an order yet that would require IDEM to reopen public comments on the permit. The order might not come until after the appeal hearing on June 29.

Riverview Energy's planned project in the Spencer County community of Dale would convert coal into diesel fuel and Naphtha. It is expected to release about 2.2 million tons of carbon dioxide, 225 tons of carbon monoxide and 120 tons of sulfur dioxide annually.

A company spokeswoman deferred comments on the judge's ruling to IDEM. Stephanie McFarland added that Riverview is on pace to close its financing for the project later this year and anticipates starting construction in early 2021.

IDEM has said hazardous air pollutants that would be released by the plant would not have a substantial impact on air quality. However, opponents have raised concerns about the facility's air contamination from the beginning and are appealing issues related to how IDEM modeled those impacts for its permit.

Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life and Valley Watch requested the records nearly a year earlier in June 2018 to prepare public comments on the proposed permit. The organizations argued that the requested information would have significantly changed their comments.

But IDEM did not provide the records until a week before the agency issued its final air pollution permit, according to a ruling from Indiana's environmental adjudication office.

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 21°
Kokomo
Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 18°
Rensselaer
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 34° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 17°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 21°
Williamsport
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 17°
Crawfordsville
Clear
28° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 17°
Delphi
Partly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 19°
Monticello
Mostly Cloudy
29° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 19°
Logansport
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 18°
Decreasing clouds this afternoon with slightly warmer temperatures
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1134898

Reported Deaths: 17829
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1473912256
Lake735981260
Allen68335891
Hamilton51957489
St. Joseph50677652
Elkhart40767548
Vanderburgh35026498
Tippecanoe31302278
Johnson28050467
Hendricks26647387
Porter26093391
Madison21380461
Clark20446279
Vigo19290312
LaPorte17486266
Delaware17053306
Howard16980315
Monroe16829220
Kosciusko14525167
Hancock13288186
Bartholomew13229191
Warrick12369191
Grant12243249
Wayne12243271
Floyd12134227
Morgan10571195
Boone10008125
Noble9460123
Marshall9322147
Henry9286170
Dearborn9094102
Dubois8917142
Shelby8437131
Cass8280128
Lawrence8159187
DeKalb7964109
Jackson781793
Huntington7792118
Montgomery7239123
Gibson7203118
Harrison7062100
Knox6988116
Steuben680189
Miami6693114
Whitley669261
Putnam652586
Wabash6353113
Clinton634980
Jasper625792
Jefferson5979105
Ripley567394
Adams548781
Daviess5141119
Scott499680
Wells4934107
White488270
Greene4772102
Clay470162
Decatur4678111
Fayette465298
Jennings458967
LaGrange436591
Posey413844
Randolph4023107
Washington394756
Fountain383265
Fulton369074
Spencer366448
Starke362874
Owen359677
Sullivan352455
Jay338151
Orange336473
Rush315633
Carroll302339
Franklin295844
Perry294553
Vermillion287358
Tipton253967
Parke252531
Pike252244
Blackford226044
Pulaski214360
Newton185752
Brown181550
Benton171918
Crawford171229
Martin153519
Switzerland149612
Warren138717
Union125716
Ohio93313
Unassigned0599

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events