EQSC adopts final report

October 27th, 2005

The Environmental Quality Service Council (EQSC) held its final meeting of the year on Wednesday. The Council adopted a final report, which included recommendations on several areas of environmental policy.

eqsc

The final report has not yet been posted, but I have uploaded a draft version of the report and made it available here (the highlighted portions are additions from Wednesday’s meeting).

One of the most significant recommendations deals with the mercury switch problem that I discussed in an earlier entry:

Essentially, the problem is that car manufacturers included motion-activated switches in automobiles (like the switches under your hood and trunk that turn on lights when you lift them) for many years. Although most of these switches are no longer included in cars, the mercury from them ends up in scrap steel. This scrap steel is melted down by steel manufacturers, and pumped back in to the atmosphere.

Many other states are dealing with this problem, and the issue always comes down to who covers the cost of reclamation from the scrap yards - car manufacturers, steel recyclers, the scrap yard operator, or the state taxpayers.

The Council essentially endorsed the concept of a state “bounty” system to pay for the collection of mercury switches from scrap yards. Exactly how the bounty will be funded - and by whom - is an issue that will be hashed out in the Legislature. Other states have required automobile manufacturers whose cars contained mercury switches to contribute to their collection programs.

Another recommendation was to improve the practices of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) - including the possibility of requiring financial assurance bonding. Indiana CAFO issues have been covered extensively at Kemplog, if you would like to do further reading on the subject.

The report also includes a recommendation for the Governor to establish a Sustainable Energy Commission to examine the potential long-term impacts of alternative energy and energy efficiency. The recommendation mirrors some of the policy contained in HB 1642 that was introduced by Representative Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) in the last session.

I look forward to working on these and other environmental issues in the upcoming session. As always, if you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to let me know.

Entry Filed under: Energy, Environment

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