OEA rules twice in favor of petitioners against Riverview Energy

The Office of Environmental Adjudication (OEA) has found that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) failed in its legal responsibility to respond in a timely fashion to Public Records requests from Southwestern Indiana Citizens for Quality of Life (SWICQL) and Valley Watch, thus limiting petitioners’ ability to fully comment on the Title V draft permit concerning Riverview Energy.

The Order, dated January 28, stated, “IDEM violated 2-7-17(c)(l)(C)(iv). There is no question of fact that the records obtained by Petitioners in June 2019 contained relevant and significant information regarding the emissions implications that was not available either in the VFC (Virtual File Cabinet) or in the TSD (Technical Support Document). Petitioners assert that they would have made comments to IDEM regarding this information. IDEM’s significant delay in responding to the request for public records further supports a conclusion that IDEM did not comply with 2-7-17(c)(l)(C)(iv). Summary judgment is appropriate in Petitioners’ favor.”

Records at issue were requested nearly a year before IDEM finally shared them with the petitioners, well after the legal time frame required by Indiana law and after the public hearing and comment period had closed. OEA’s order stated, “IDEM must comply with the rule. For the rule to have any meaning, the Petitioners must have accurate, complete and up-to-date information…”

In a separate order, OEA granted legal standing to both SWICQL and Valley Watch, which is a recognition that members of both groups are “aggrieved or adversely affected” by the Riverview Energy permit and entitled to pursue their permit challenge.

The joint petitioners are represented by the non-profit environmental law firm, Earthjustice, and Indianapolis attorney, Kathryn A. Watson of the firm, Cantrell & Mehringer LLP.

OEA will conduct a formal hearing or trial in late June and early July when the case to remand the entire permit back to IDEM will be decided.

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