IDEM ends requirement to publish air quality permit notices in newspapers


The state’s Environmental Rules Board voted unanimously on Nov. 14 to allow the Air Quality Division of IDEM to end the publication of notices of air quality permit application hearings in local newspapers.

Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, said none of the 13 members addressed how 2,009 yearly unique visitors to the IDEM pages where notices are placed was better than putting it before newspaper readers (2.9 million adult Hoosier readers a week).

“Bureaucratic efficiency trumped citizen preference.”

Steve Key, HSPA Executive Director & General Counsel

None addressed why 600 public comments received by IDEM against the proposal (compared to 4 in favor) were ignored.

“Bureaucratic efficiency trumped citizen preference,” Key said.

Testifying in favor of the change were two representatives of the solid waste industry. Key suspects that that industry wants to set the stage for IDEM rule changes that would eliminate publication of public notices for other divisions (solid waste, water, and land).

IDEM commissioner Bruno Pigott, arguing for the rule change, told the board that the public can sign up for IDEM notifications.

In addition to arguing the public’s preference for local publication, Key offered the services of HSPA’s ad placement program (MAP or Midwest Advertising Placements) to help IDEM place the notices in local newspapers.

Key believes MAP could have saved IDEM thousands of dollars in man-hours by taking over the placement of the public notices. IDEM had testified that the cost to place the notices was $68,000, including the publication cost of $17,000.