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New Fact Sheet Explains IDEM’s Self-Disclosure Policy

11.13.2012

By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

On August 24, 2012 the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) published a Fact Sheet explaining the benefits and requirements of its Self-Disclosure and Environmental Audit Policy (Audit Policy).  The Audit Policy was adopted in 1999 and has since been revised in 2006 and 2010.  Under the Audit Policy, IDEM encourages regulated entities to voluntarily undertake audits to discover violations of applicable environmental regulations.  The Fact Sheet explains that IDEM provides incentives to regulated entities who timely self-disclose and correct discovered violations. The Fact Sheet highlights the following incentives:

  • Reduction of up to 75% or 100% of a gravity-based penalty, depending on whether certain of nine listed conditions are met.
  • IDEM will not recommend prosecution of the entity if certain of the nine conditions are met and the entity’s managers did not conceal or condone the violation or have a conscious involvement in or willful blindness toward the violation.
  • IDEM will not request a copy of the audit report for purposes of civil or criminal enforcement if the audit findings are disclosed under the Audit Policy.

One of the nine conditions is the discovery of the violation during an audit.  However, even if the violation is not discovered through an audit, the disclosing entity may be eligible for up to 75% reduction of the gravity penalty if the other eight conditions are met.  A condition that must be satisfied, whether an audit was used or not, is disclosure of the violation to IDEM within 45 calendar days after becoming aware the violation has occurred or may likely have occurred.

To view a complete PDF of the September/October 2012 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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