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IDEM Watch: The Destruction of IDEM
What is happening to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management? IDEM was established in 1986, to provide quality environmental oversight and technical assistance around the state. But do they? You probably know what we think. Here, in articles and editorials, is what others are saying:
Dog boiled alive after jumping into farm discharge
August 14, 2010
Former coal lobbyist tapped for key role at IDEM
May 10, 2009
City urges residents to complain about IDEM
February 5, 2009
(Post-Tribune Article): The city of Hammond has sent out e-mails asking residents to complain to their legislators about recent changes in enforcement at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
City officials sent an e-mail Wednesday to subscribers of the city's event list. The e-mail referenced IDEM's cancellations of contracts with local air pollution control agencies, including the Hammond Department of Environmental Management. The e-mail said the action was taken "under the guise of 'streamlining.' "
"Citizens can expect to see no savings, only a much slower response to their environmental complaints and less oversight of industry. Ironically, even industry (at least the environmentally compliant industry) prefers to deal with the local agencies due to their personal and timely service. Plus the federal Clean Air Act and Indiana State Law promote using local air pollution agencies to help enforce air pollution regulations," the e-mail stated.
IDEM rubber-stamps what industry seeks
January 28, 2009
(Post-Tribune editorial): Question: How much integrity can a permit process have when the outcome and deadline are certain?
Answer: Very little.
In an e-mail obtained by Post-Tribune reporter Gitte Laasby, the head of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management makes clear that BP would have its air permit by June 1, 2008.
In the e-mail from Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Tom Easterly to Gov. Mitch Daniels' office, Easterly says that regardless of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency actions, the state would issue the permit by June 1. ...[continued]
Recycling cuts wrong for the economy
January 25, 2009
(Bloomington Alternative column): The Indiana Recycling Coalition is concerned about IDEM's decision to suspend environmental grants to Indiana communities and businesse. During these tough economic times, more than ever, we need to encourage "green jobs" in areas such as recycling, pollution prevention, energy technology development and green manufacturing, to name a few. ...[continued]
EPA Raises Concerns About IDEM Changes
January 22, 2009
(Post-Tribune Article): Recent changes in enforcement at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are not going over well with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA sent a letter to IDEM Tuesday, raising questions about the changes and requesting a meeting. ...[continued]
IDEM takes another step in lax regulation
January 6, 2009
(Post-Tribune editorial): The Indiana Department of Environmental Management's cancellation of local air quality contracts is yet another sign of the politicization of the agency.
Without warning, IDEM canceled its contracts with Hammond and Gary, effective March 31.
The end of the contracts doesn't just mean a lack of local monitoring.
It means less monitoring, period. ...[continued]
IDEM changes worrisome
January 4, 2009
(Marion Chronicle-Tribune): We are concerned that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management decisions to dispose of its enforcement arm will not serve the citizens of the state well both now and in generations to come.
We have no doubt that IDEM needed retooling. Historically, simple questions of the agency received a slow response creating a sometimes time-consuming barrier to reporting facts to the public.
Change was needed, we think, to make IDEM more responsive to people and their concerns about the environment and the states enforcement of its environment regulations, as area residents can attest in their own dealings with the agency.
Enforcement didnt really do much. It seemed like nothing ever got done until it got to the attorney general, said Don Lindsey of Andrews, who wound up being a neighbor to a confined animal feed operation.
But we are curiously wondering how elimination the IDEM enforcement office will accomplish the creation of a better and more responsive IDEM.... [continued]
Protect our environment, even in not-so-good times
January 3, 2009
(Indianapolis Star editorial):
Our position: State must not let current budget crisis hurt environmental protection.
One of the unfortunate victims of the national recession may be Indiana's environment.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, citing a budget shortfall caused by the economic downturn, has cut off $3 million in funds for recycling and pollution prevention programs. The freeze in funding will persist for at least 18 months.... [continued]
State suspends funding to support recycling
December 30, 2008
(Chicago Tribune article): Citing the impact of the recession, Indianas environmental agency has halted funding for state grant and loan programs that support recycling and pollution prevention a cutoff that will persist through at least through summer 2010.
The move means that up to $3 million that had been approved for various recycling or pollution prevention programs by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will not reach the intended recipients. [continued]
Indiana: Still toxic after all these years
December 28, 2008
(Bloomington Alternative column): ...While researching a story for NUVO readers in Indianapolis on the connection between autism and toxic chemicals, I returned to territory familiar from my stint as an environmental writer at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) from 1996-2000. I spent hours analyzing Indiana's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), a gauge for how polluted Indiana or any other state is.... [continued]
December 19, 2008
(Fort Wayne Journal Gazette editorial): Enforcing environmental regulations and then punishing violators is the raison dÍtre for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. But for some indefensible reason, IDEM officials have made two decisions recently that call into question their willingness to fulfill their responsibility to protect Hoosiers and the environment.... [continued]
Indiana Changes Air Quality Monitoring
December 15, 2008
(Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ story): The state of Indiana is changing the way it monitors air quality. Not everyone is on board with the change. ...[continued]
IDEM dissolves Office of Enforcement
December 15, 2008
(Chicago Tribune article): Indianas efforts to redefine serious environmental violations are drawing fire from critics, who say the state is endangering peoples health by requiring that a violator cause actual harm or threaten the environment before facing penalties.
The new definition, which has yet to take effect, comes as the state Department of Environmental Management is dissolving its Office of Enforcement and moving those employees into different departments.... [continued]
What is Daniels trying to hide about IDEM?
December 10, 2008
(Post-Tribune editorial):The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is keeping a list -- and checking it twice.
The agency in charge of enforcing water and air regulations has been sending lists of newspaper stories to Gov. Mitch Daniels' office, marking them as "positive," "negative" or "neutral."
But unlike Santa, who makes his list known through song and verse, the governor has offered only a "no comment." ... [continued]
IDEM Delays Clean-Up in Northwest Indiana
January 29, 2008
Environmentalists are concerned about the lack of progress toward cleaning up Northwest Indiana's most contaminated waters.
Lake County Sheriff Responds to IDEM Threats
October 1, 2007
IDEM Threatens After Sheriff Voices Environmental Concerns
September 28, 2007
IDEM threatens to impose fines on Lake County after sheriff voices concerns about environmental hazards from landfill.
Residents Slam IDEM and US Steel
September 27, 2007
Citizens criticized the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for relaxing environmental guidelines and U.S. Steel for not going beyond those guidelines and trying to eliminate discharges altogether.
Better Air Testing Demanded
August 3, 2007
Bucket Brigade finds 14 chemicals in air sample near BP site. Five of them registered well above what other states list as "levels of concern."
August 1, 2007
Time and time again Easterly says that IDEM is an economic development tool for the state.
Price for BP's rewards is far too high
July 29, 2007
Some rewards just aren't worth it.
IDEM Has Some Explaining To Do
July 27, 2007
South Bend Tribune editorial questions IDEM.
Congress Disapproves IDEM Permit
July 26, 2007
BP's buffeted plan to increase pollutants discharged into Lake Michigan from its Whiting refinery took a hit in Congress on Wednesday, but found a friend in Gov. Mitch Daniels.
U.S. Senators threaten to block BP Whiting air permit
July 24, 2007
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators, including the Majority Whip, on Tuesday threatened to block approval of an air permit for BP that is required to expand the company's Whiting, Ind., refinery unless the company changed its plans to dump toxic chemicals into Lake Michigan.
BP Fined $8,750 for Waste Water Backup
July 21, 2007
State environmental regulators fined BP $8,750 this spring after a sump pump hose at the company's Whiting oil refinery malfunctioned last year, dumping 1,000 gallons of untreated waste water onto soil within the plant.
'Loophole' Cited in BP Permit Ruling
July 20, 2007
When the Indiana Department of Environmental Management allowed BP to discharge 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids at its reconfigured refinery, it happened because of a loophole in Indiana law, environmentalists say.
Indiana's Leaders Must Fight for Clean Water
July 20, 2007
There comes a time when Northwest Indiana residents must question why we should risk Lake Michigan's future to enrich the owners of a British company who do not drink our water or bathe along our shores.
State Won't Respond to E-Mail
July 20, 2007
IDEM: State Law Doesn't Require Response to Email
City to Fight BP Over Pollution Waiver
July 19, 2007
The City of Chicago joined the fight Wednesday to stop the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, from dumping significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan.
Residents Outraged About BP Permit
July 16, 2007
BP will face no appeals of its wastewater permit. Residents are outraged, saying IDEM skipped part of required process.