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GOP VP Nominee Vance calls Republicans champions of the middle class; President Biden is isolating with Covid while sources say Schumer privately urged Biden to step aside in the 2024 election: NY bill addresses monopolies, anti-trust loopholes; ACLU of Alabama launches Project MOVE to boost voter turnout.

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Ohio Sen. JD Vance makes an 'America First' VP nomination acceptance speech. Tough national security talk papers over GOP complexities on foreign policy. Sen. Bob Menendez resigns and President Biden catches COVID.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Indiana Governor Ignores Environmental Group's Plea

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Friday, May 5, 2023   

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ignored pleas from environmental advocates who were asking him to veto a bill that gives lawmakers more power over state agencies.

To Hoosiers not familiar with the technical language in House Bill 1623, it may be difficult to decode how it applies to everyday life. But Sam Carpenter understood what's at stake - and was quick to call it a "bad bill."

Carpenter, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, worried that the legislation could affect people's health and the environment. He said it creates more paperwork for state regulators dealing with the ash left behind when coal is burned to make electricity, and collected in ponds, "most of them unlined.

"Indiana has one of the highest - if not the highest - number of coal ash ponds in the state, compared to other states in the nation," he said, "and they are leaching toxic metals - mercury, arsenic, lead - into our waterways."

However, the bill's supporters have said it streamlines rulemaking and standardizes government procedures. Carpenter said his group wanted more common-sense regulation, and blamed special-interest groups and a tendency from some who push back against any new law.

Carpenter predicted that the legislation will limit regulators' ability to effectively do their jobs.

"We're really relying on federal regulations for Indiana problems," he said. "The federal regulations don't always fit our situation; specifically, what we're concerned about - there's language around regulation in setting standards of protection around coal ash."

Holcomb signed House Bill 1623 into law Thursday.


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