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home : most recent : statewide implications September 20, 2017


9/11/2017 9:22:00 AM
IDEM wants to eliminate public notice ads for air pollution permits

Dan Carden, Times of Northwest Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosiers soon may be less likely to see notices that businesses and industrial facilities located near their homes are seeking permission to emit air pollutants.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management announced this week that it is considering replacing newspaper publication of some air permit applications with electronic postings on the agency's website.

IDEM claims that converting to e-notices "will enable permitting authorities to communicate permitting and other affected actions to the public more quickly and efficiently."

It also would save an estimated $17,000 a year by eliminating advertising costs in local newspapers across Indiana, according to IDEM.

Steve Key, executive director of the Hoosier State Press Association, said surveys show a strong majority of Hoosiers read public notice advertising in their newspapers, and 85 percent favor government continuing to publish public notices in newspapers.

He said public notice ads are an independent check on government action — archivable, verifiable and accessible to all segments of society.

"Most people don't know when annual financial reports for local government are published, or tax rate charts or school performance reports, but they find this information while reading their newspaper," Key said.

"Hoosiers aren't going to routinely check multiple government websites on a weekly basis to see whether anything has been posted that will directly impact or interest them."

Supporters and opponents of IDEM's proposed change to electronic notice for air pollution permits can submit comments to the agency through Oct. 6 by emailing kwalsh@idem.in.gov.

The agency will consider the public comments it receives in deciding whether to move forward with its plan.

Related Links:
• IDEM proposal to eliminate political notice advertising

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