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House Republicans bring back language from a dead bill protecting some ‘forever chemicals’ from regulation



Indianapolis, Indiana – Indiana By grafting its features onto an unrelated bill, House Republicans have revived language from a dead bill that restricts which “forever chemicals” can be controlled by the state.

Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, is the author of House Measure 1329, which governs onsite sewage systems and deals with other local government issues. However, Pressel incorporated wording from a dead measure that would alter the state’s definition of what qualifies as a PFAS chemical.

Rep. Shane Lindauer, R-Jasper, was the author of House Measure 1399, a dead measure that attempted to remove thousands of PFAS compounds, also known as polymers, from the state’s definition and therefore shield them from future regulation.

Only a small number of the PFAS chemicals—which are used to make items resistant to heat, water, grease, and stains—have had their health impacts properly investigated. Certain malignancies and other health problems have been associated with those that have been examined, such as PFOA and PFOS.

After Sen. Rick Niemeyer, the chair of the Senate Committee on Environmental Affairs, stated he would not move on Lindauer’s measure during a hearing on February 26, the bill, which had been passed by the House, was shelved.

The onsite sewage measure, HB1329, was passed by the Senate and the House in different versions, but neither version contained the PFAS provision.

This week, a conference committee was put together to try and find a middle ground between the two legislative versions.

At a conference committee meeting on Wednesday, March 6, Pressel, the bill’s chair, incorporated the whole text of the PFAS law to HB1329. His inclusion increases the difference between the bill versions.
Mirror When Indy tried to get in touch with Pressel, he didn’t reply.

The original PFAS bill’s author, Lindauer, said that it would eliminate regulatory ambiguity for emerging companies in Indiana that employ the chemicals to manufacture microchips, medical gadgets, lithium batteries, and other products. The state’s water systems, including Indianapolis’, have been found to contain the pollutants.

A member of the bill conference committee, Rep. Maureen Bauer, D-South Bend, stated that the addition defies both the majority of Indiana voters’ wishes and scientific realities.

“Taking a step backward in regards to PFAS policy is not the direction Indiana wants to go,” Bauer said. “It would be my hope that instead of misinforming the public or trying to hide the use of these chemicals that we could shine a light on it and better expose how broad they are used in everyday products currently.”

According to Bauer, the revised phrasing may jeopardize HB 1329’s ultimate passing.

“All four conferees have to sign off on any changes added to the bill,” Bauer said. “If there’s a section that could prevent maybe one conferee from signing, it could be removed. And that could be the PFAS definition change. I don’t think Rep. Pressel wants his original bill to be in jeopardy.”

The whole House and Senate, in addition to every member of the conference committee, must also ratify the law. In that case, Gov. Eric Holcomb would be the one to approve the law in its entirety.

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