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Timing Is The Essence: IDEM Up To Its Old Tricks With BP Whiting Permits

Sewagemonster Here we go again with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management helping out its friends at BP Whiting. The Gary Post-Tribune's Gitte Laasby, who's done a remarkable job covering this and other IDEM issues, reports:

Approval of an air permit for BP is moving along faster than environmentalists would like -- and faster than IDEM's normal standards -- with BP standing to gain.

Environmentalists say IDEM's rushing undermines the public's opportunity to comment and that it happens at the expense of public health.

"This time frame is extremely rushed. It really is not a meaningful opportunity for public comment. Just to read the documents is more time than they've given us," Ann Alexander, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said.

When the Indiana Department of Environmental Management rescheduled the Feb. 25 public hearing on BP's air permit, it wasn't so much out of consideration for a coalition of environmental groups that asked for more time to review the thousands of pages in the permit -- although that's what IDEM has stated in a news release.

It was because IDEM failed to comply with state law when the agency first publicized the hearing. State law requires a minimum of 30 days' notice. IDEM provided only 20 days. If IDEM had not re-noticed the hearing, the permit could have been successfully challenged at the state or federal level.

Although IDEM is not required to do so by law, the agency usually gives the public about a month and a half after a hearing to submit written comments on permits. This time, the public has just over a week.

Comments

We all know the Guv is behind this. When are the people going to wake up and get rid of Mitch.

It smells fishy to me. Kinda like the Republicans trying to push through property tax legislation by putting it in front of cameras and news people, then announcing that the Gov would sign it, as is, instead of first introducing it to the whole legislature for approval. I wouldn’t sign a thing until I read the print off the page! Then I would still be looking for the loop hole.

Amazing isn't it? All the people who are dancing around wedge issues when something like this directly affects the health and welfare of the citizens of our state. The economy and the environment should surely trump all these other petty wedge issues.

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