IDEM Eliminates Office of Enforcement
By Jennifer Thompson, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”) Commissioner Tom Easterly has announced that IDEM will be eliminating its Office of Enforcement and that its Offices of Air Quality, Water Quality and Land Quality will be responsible for enforcement activities for their respective programs. Commissioner Easterly has assured the public that the IDEM will continue to vigorously enforce environmental laws and rules. He stressed the need for the Assistant Commissioner of each program office involved to approve enforcement actions, noting too many enforcement matters were coming before him for issuance of a Commissioner’s Order that the agency should not have been pursuing. The Office of Enforcement was created in 1992. Prior to its creation, enforcement matters were handled by the individual program offices as will be the case again.
Although the IDEM will be returning its enforcement authority to the program offices, the IDEM plans to continue to maintain its enforcement database. The IDEM also plans to continue to implement its self-disclosure policy, however, all self-disclosures now will be reviewed and handled by the Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance.
The announcement to eliminate the Office of Enforcement comes at the same time as Commissioner Easterly’s announcement regarding the need to first obtain Governor Daniels’ approval before hiring any staff to fill IDEM position vacancies and the announcement to eliminate permitting and enforcement activities by local agencies.