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Sept. 23: Environmental policy -- see it, taste it, debate, it, change it

Part of My Daily Constitution: A bus tour of the neighborhood around Citizen Gas & Coke; then a discussion of how citizens can become engaged in regulation of institutions such as Citizen Gas & Coke

When: 1:00 - 4:00 PM

Where: Family Center, Christian Park 4200 English Avenue Indianapolis 46201 (317) 327-7163

1:00-2:00 PM Bus Tour
“Case Study: Air Quality Indianapolis; A tour of an East Side Neighborhood” This bus tour will visit the neighborhood surrounding the Citizens Gas & Coke manufacturing plant on the east side of Indianapolis. Participants will discuss the recent air quality report issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, as well as the radon study currently taking place in the area by the Washington D.C. based Alliance for Healthy Homes, whose members will be present. In cooperation with the Organization for Neighborhood Empowerment. Meet at Family Center, Christian Park at 1:00 PM; Bus departs at 1:15 PM; Refreshments provided.

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Constitution discussion -- "Public Participation in Environmental Regulation: Theory vs. Reality"
State environmental agencies are charged with the protection of all citizens of the state. In reality, groups with the greatest resources exert a disproportionate influence on the enactment of environmental regulations. As Indianapolis redevelops its inner-city, and housing stock goes upscale, toxic environments, once considered more of a problem for poorer neighborhoods (as articulated by the Environmental Justice movement), has become everyone's concern. We have the studies and the enforcement actions, so what is preventing advances in creating a cleaner, more healthy Indiana? Could “business as usual” be the problem?

Discussion Leaders will be Michael Sutherlin of Michael Sutherlin & Associates and the Hoosier Environmental Council; and Dick van Frank of Improving Kid's Environment and a member of EPA's Title V Advisory Committee. Van Frank retired from the Lilly Research Laboratories in 1990 after 33 years. He research addressed viral vaccines, cell biology, biochemistry and molecular biology. Through his experience with Lilly, his environmental interests grew and eventually became a second vocation. He has served on numerous federal, state and local environmental advisory committees. He currently serves on the Wet Weather Technical Advisory Committee, the AWT Advisory Committee, the IDEM E. coli Task Force, and the Central Indiana Air Advisory Group. He also serves on the boards of Keep Indianapolis Beautiful; The Nature Sanctuary and Center; A. W. Butler Audubon Society, and is President of Improving Kids' Environment.

Check this out for a flavor of current controversies over environmental regulation in Indiana. Check out these sections of Indiana Law Blog for more technical background on environmental protection. This discussion seems perfectly paired with the previous MDC Constitution Cafe addressing eminent domain and the abuse of "takings" by the government. Two very different perspectives on the role of the government, and on who is most at risk: those owning property or those who bear the costs imposed on society by property owners? Try to see both.

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