Hoosier Environmental Council and Air Quality and Energy & Environment and Environment and Environmental Policy

Groups oppose end to some Indiana hearing notices

September 14, 2012

Eighteen environmental and public interest groups are urging Indiana's environmental agency to reconsider its plans to stop publishing newspaper notices that alert the public about hearings on proposed air-quality policy changes.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management plans to stop publishing newspaper advertisements Dec. 1 about hearings on proposed changes to state air pollution rules and plans to bring parts of the state that exceed federal air-quality regulations into compliance with those rules.

Those environmental, conservation, public health and consumer protection groups sent a letter Friday to IDEM's commissioner.

The groups said the agency's planned shift to notifying the public about such hearings through its website and emails would cost ordinary Hoosiers "an important channel" to learn about the hearings and could expand to other state agencies.

The agency stimated it would save about $7,500 annually by making the change.

The Hoosier State Press Association opposes the change. So does the Hoosier Environmental Council, whose executive director, Jesse Kharbanda, said the "extremely modest" savings from the change doesn't justify the reduction in public awareness that could follow.

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