CLC staff attended Earth Charter Indiana's "Climate Leadership Summit" this week. Aside from the science, the committee of leaders discussed the climate-friendly changes in Indiana's communities and brainstormed resources and policies to help Indiana adapt to a changing climate.
On October 26, the CLC submitted comments on the Office of Surface Mining’s proposed Stream Protection Rule on behalf of the Hoosier Environmental Council. The proposed rule updates surface coal mining regulations in light of new information on coal mining’s effects on ecosystems and the difficulty of replacing healthy streams impacted by mining. The proposed rule would allow companies to mine through streams if avoiding the streams is not practicable and the applicant demonstrates that she can replace the form and function of the impacted stream. However, the rule allows states with primary authority over surface coal mining to develop their own standards to measure stream function.
The CLC is assisting The Nature Conservancy in clearing mineral encumbrances from properties in the Wabash River watershed for conservation. Many property owners do not own the mineral rights beneath their property. This means the mineral rights owner can use the surface to reach any coal, oil, or natural gas beneath the property. We are clearing abandoned rights of titles and working with owners with current rights to secure the release of the surface rights so the property can be committed to conservation use without the risk of mining or drilling occurring in the future.
The Conservation Law Center is representing Friends of the White River in contesting a plan to strip vegetation in the White River corridor from Broad Ripple to Kessler in Indianapolis. This much loved urban oasis is home to mature bottomland hardwood forest of considerable ecological value. Apparently relying on outdated advice from the Corps of Engineers, the City of Indianapolis has claimed that the riverside levee must be clear of vegetation in order to obtain a safety certification. CLC will argue that Congress has changed the law as to vegetation clearing, and that the city's application for a permit to clear the trees should be denied.