New panel sparks concern of chamber, environmentalists

Gov. Mitch Daniels has appointed a newly formed rule-making board that's stoked concerns about what it could mean for Indiana's environmental regulations.

Former Republican state Sen. Beverly Gard of Greenfield will chair the new 11-member Environmental Rules Board, which will also have five non-voting members. It was authorized by a law passed last session that merged Indiana's water pollution, air pollution and solid waste management boards.

Both environmentalists and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce worry the new board won't have the technical proficiency to make informed decisions on the wide-ranging proposals the three boards once handled.

Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda says he hopes the new board errs "on the side of caution in protecting the public's health" and is responsive to the concerns of public interest groups.

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