Affirms trial court affirmation of order by OEA in favor of Great Lakes Transfer and IDEM

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The Board of Commissioners of LaPorte County (“LaPorte County”), the Board of Commissioners of Porter County (“Porter County”), the Town of Beverly Shores (“Beverly Shores”), and the Town of Pines (“Pines”) (collectively, “Appellants”) appeal the trial court’s affirmation of an order by the Office of Environmental Adjudication (“OEA”) in favor of Great Lakes Transfer, LLC (“Great Lakes Transfer”), and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”). Appellants raise four issues, which we revise and restate as:

1. Whether the trial court abused its discretion by transferring venue to Marion County;
2. Whether the trial court erred in determining that the OEA’s decision that IDEM properly granted a permit to Great Lakes Transfer even though Great Lakes Transfer did not have a permit for road access was not arbitrary and capricious;
3. Whether the trial court erred in determining that the OEA’s decision that IDEM properly granted a permit when Great Lakes Transfer did not own the property at issue was not arbitrary and capricious;
4. Whether the trial court erred in determining that the OEA’s decision that IDEM properly granted a permit when Great Lakes Transfer’s building permit was later rescinded was not arbitrary and capricious;
5. Whether the trial court erred in determining that the OEA’s decision that IDEM properly granted a permit despite wetlands concerns was not arbitrary and capricious; and
6. Whether the trial court erred in determining that the OEA’s decision that IDEM properly granted a permit despite concerns of environmental justice and public participation was not arbitrary and capricious.
Conclusion (slip op. at 31):  Trial court’s order affirmed in all respects.
 

Key Analysis (slip op. at 16, 22, 26, 28, 31):  We agree with the trial court that, given the relevant regulations, the OEA’s affirmation of IDEM’s interpretation of the rule allowing the issuance of the permit without confirmation of the Driveway Permit is reasonable . . . Given regulations in 329 IAC 11, the OEA concluded that IDEM’s issuance of the permit was proper, and the trial court concluded that OEA’s decision was reasonable. We agree . . . The issuance of the permit by IDEM does not preempt any duty to comply with other state or local requirements. GLT still had the duty to obtain a valid special exception and building permit. We conclude that the OEA’s decision was not arbitrary and capricious . . . GL did submit a wetlands delineation report to IDEM, that the transfer station construction would not impact wetlands, and that the issuance of a permit would not authorize an impact on wetlands or authorize the discharge of pollutants into the waters. Appellants have failed to demonstrate that the OEA’s decision was arbitrary and capricious . . . Appellants presented no evidence to the OEA that the proposed solid waste transfer facility would have an environmental impact. Appellants have failed to demonstrate that the OEA’s decision was arbitrary and capricious.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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