General Assembly, governor bypass green reforms

Indiana environmental advocates had enough disappointment this year. Major efforts petered out in the Indiana General Assembly, such as a mass transit funding bill and a standard to require 15 percent of electricity come from renewable sources by 2025.

Gov. Mitch Daniels made sure their misery was complete, when earlier this month he vetoed House Enrolled Act 1348, which would have created a new, energy-efficient building code. The Hoosier Environmental Council deemed it the "only major green energy legislation passed this year."

Daniels said the bill was good public policy but is "completely superfluous," explaining that, months ago, he’d asked the Indiana Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to start updating state energy code to promote conservation and environmental protection.

"Accordingly, the language of this bill would only serve to clutter the existing Indiana Code without adding in any way to our progress in these areas," Daniels said in a note to the House.

The bill’s author, State Rep. Ryan Dvorak, D-South Bend, said he is "absolutely baffled" at Daniels’ veto, saying he worked with the administration to incorporate its suggestions into the legislation.

Dvorak said the governor’s efforts began only after hearings in the Legislature to update nearly 20-year-old efficiency measures in the existing building code. Saying HEA 1348 would create jobs in the building trades and reduce business overhead, Dvorak vowed to seek an override of Daniels’ veto.

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