When it comes to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, enforcing guidelines also is a disturbing thing. Case in point: Just three months ago, the Chicago Tribune reported that Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., was among public officials warning of IDEM’s proposed rules to allow a refinery in Whiting, Ind., to dump 20 times the normal level of mercury to be dumped into Lake Michigan. Even as federal guidelines for power plants are designed to limit mercury in our environment, IDEM appeared to look the other way and shirk its responsibility not just to the citizens of Indiana, but to those of Illinois and Michigan who fish or boat on Lake Michigan, and more significantly, swim in it and eat fish from it.
Federal air quality guidelines enforced by the EPA only involve a limited number of tests over time that allow companies generating the emissions to have a heads up that the Feds are coming well in advance. That allows even the worst polluters a chance to scale back the amount of emissions that are generated to meet federal guidelines.
What all this means is that if anyone is going to do anything to assure Logansport and Cass County have decent air to breathe that doesn’t dump harmful chemicals into our water table, it’s up to us to make it happen at the local level. We have to be the people enforcing the standards. It’s to that end that the Cass County commissioners have been presented proposals for monitoring air quality. These are important proposals because the amount of waste materials being proposed for this power plant is considerable – and it may just be the start if operators are allowed to expand the plant to produce surplus power so that they don’t lose money through a still to be announced deal with the city.