Governor Eric Holcomb has signed a series of executive orders. They include the naming of a new Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission chairman and the declaration of a disaster emergency for more than 300 acres of land at the East Chicago Superfund Site.
Holcomb has named Jim Atterholt IURC chairman. He previously served in the position from 2009 to 2014, and most recently worked as chief of staff to former Governor Mike Pence. He is also a former state representative and Indiana commissioner of insurance.
The emergency declaration for the 322-acre East Chicago Superfund Site comes because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the land as having lead contamination. The state says the 30-day declaration is focused on helping relocate nearly 100 residents in the affected area and connecting with agency leaders in the new administration.
Holcomb has also signed an order terminating contract discussions between the Indiana Finance Authority and Agile Networks over the management of the state’s communications infrastructure, including cell towers. The state says the authority and Agile Networks have been unable to agree on terms of the contract. Holcomb says enhancing broadband access in rural areas "will be an important part of my consideration" of alternative partners.
In addition, the governor has pardoned Keith Cooper for a 1997 felony robbery conviction in Elkhart County after eye witnesses recanted their testimony and DNA evidence did not implicate him in the crime.