A bill introduced in the Indiana State Legislature would neuter the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the state by nullifying all of its regulations and placing all environmental protection authority with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Introduced by Rep. Chris Judy, and cosponsored by Rep. Robert Heaton and Rep. Matthew Ubelhor, House Bill 1290 (HB1290) declares “the regulation making authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency is not authorized by the Constitution of the United States in any article or amendment and violates the Constitution’s true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers.”

It continues to declare that “all regulations imposed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency before, on, or after July 1, 2015, are void in Indiana.”

Instead, the bill would have the state department of environmental management provide environmental protection for the state.

This bill must clear an almost impossible hurdle to ultimately make its way to the governor’s desk. State Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) vehemently opposes nullification, in principle. In 2013, Rep. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) introduced a bill that would have authorized the Indiana General Assembly to declare federal laws unconstitutional. Long sent the bill to the Rules Committee, where according to nwi.com, the “bills Long doesn’t like typically go to die.

Even though odds are high that Long will ultimately kill the bill, the fact that it was filed on the House side first in a strategic move means it will have the opportunity to gain momentum before the Senate president can bury it. This move will increase opportunities for media attention, it will increase awareness and support for EPA nullification efforts among the public, and it will put Long under a considerable amount of pressure if it passes the House and moves over to the Senate.

Last year, Indiana was one of several states to file a lawsuit against the federal agency over its recent carbon dioxide regulations, contending the agency is “overstepping its authority.” In reference to the lawsuit against the EPA, Gov. Mike Pence said the state is determined to “use every legal means at our disposal to prevent the EPA from overstepping its authority and costing Hoosier jobs.”

Despite Long’s misguided opinion, the state should include nullification in those means.

Thomas Jefferson described nullification as the “rightful remedy” “where powers are assumed which have not been delegated.”

James Madison, considered by many “The Father of the Constitution,” laid out the blueprint in Federalist 46, writing that when the federal government passes “unwarrantable measures” (or even warrantable measures) the states have a means of opposition “powerful and at hand.”

This includes “refusal to cooperate with officers of the union” and “legislative devices” that would create “impediments.” In fact, Madison insisted that if enough states opposed a federal act, it would, “would present obstructions which the federal government would hardly be willing to encounter.”

Some opponents of nullification, including Long, claim that Madison later denied the principle during Nullification Crisis of 1832.

They are wrong.

Madison actually opposed a “peculiar doctrine” of nullification espoused by Sen. John Calhoun and leaders in South Carolina asserting that all acts of a single nullifying state were binding – and that the rest of the country would have to accept them unless the states assembled in convention where 3/4 of state would override.

Madison insisted the South Carolina doctrine betrayed the spirit and principles behind the concept articulated in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions while still supporting nullification as a natural right.

As Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey writes in Smashing Myths: Understanding Madison’s Notes on Nullification, Madison upheld the broader principles of nullification in his later Notes on Nullification, even as he opposed the South Carolina incarnation of the doctrine..

“The right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression,” Madison wrote.

No founders disagreed with Madison when he asserted that nullification should be used in the face of “insupportable oppression.”

Do EPA regulations constitute “insupportable oppression” in Indiana?  The people and the state legislature will have their say in 2015.


In Indiana: Contact your state representative, and urge them to support this bill. Contact your state senator, and urge them to introduce similar legislation in their chamber. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.

In Other States: Contact your state legislators and politely demand that they introduce a similar bill. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.

TJ Martinell