Indiana environmental regulators have approved a toxic polluting facility in southern Indiana that at least a dozen other states would have either denied or required additional controls.
It's a decision that, for some, raises questions about whether Indiana is putting industry concerns ahead of the state's obligation to protect Hoosiers from exposure to emissions that are known to cause cancers and other serious health effects.
It's also not new. IndyStar analyzed roughly 20 similar permits approved since 2007 and found that in nine of those cases the plants' expected emissions exceeded the cancer risk threshold set by Indiana's own regulators.
Janet McCabe, a former IDEM and EPA official in the air quality division, said that EPA normally sets the bare minimum threshold. That gives states the flexibility and freedom to establish their own standards or thresholds that are more protective, added McCabe, who now leads Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute.