Report: Indiana environmental agency budget loses $35M

Funding for the Indiana agency that oversees hazardous spills and the safety of water and air has been decreasing over the last decade, a report by a nonprofit organization concluded.

Posted: Dec 30, 2019 12:48 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Funding for the Indiana agency that oversees hazardous spills and the safety of water and air has been decreasing over the last decade, a report by a nonprofit organization concluded.

The Environmental Integrity Project’s report also concluded that the slashes in funding for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management happened even as the state government’s spending budget increased.

IDEM’s budget lost nearly $35 millions in the last decade, accounting for inflation, the report showed.

“These cuts happened despite the fact that our economy was growing and our overall state spending was growing,” said Indra Frank, the environmental health and water policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council. “It’s not that Indiana couldn’t afford to staff an environmental agency.”

IDEM’s budget comes from various sources, which include the state’s overall fund, federal money and income from waste permit fees, the Indianapolis Star reported.

Companies that emit waste must pay for permits to operate in Indiana under safe water and air guidelines.

The budget decreased partly because fewer waste permit fees have been issued, State Budget Director Zac Jackson said.

“Hoosiers are emitting fewer pollutants as they become more environmentally conscious,” Jackson said in an emailed statement.

The report by EIP, which monitors and encourages enforcement of environmental laws, concludes that the hazardous waste management program lost 76% of its budget from 2008 to 2018. IDEM’s staffing also dropped by almost 150 employees over those 10 years.

The report also points to 23 wastewater plants and industrial facilities in the state that are in significant noncompliance of the Clean Water Act, while 72 plants are listed in Environment Protection Agency records as having “high priority violations” of the Clean Air Act.

The state’s economy may be negatively affected if environmental issues go unaddressed, said Tim Maloney, senior policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council.

He noted that pollution affects real and perceived quality of life, which plays a large role in attracting businesses, workers and talent.

“The small government kind of anti-regulatory philosophy that’s been guiding our state government may be seen as a pro-business policy, but in the long term it’s actually not,” Maloney said. “It’s not pro-business to neglect environmental protection.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
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Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
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Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
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Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
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Knox250
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Ohio130
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Pike60
Unassigned0154

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Confirmed Cases: 113195

Reported Deaths: 4923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook738193354
Lake7767250
DuPage7290340
Kane5866153
Will5238258
Winnebago199351
McHenry145268
St. Clair101773
Kankakee80242
Kendall72719
Rock Island63922
Champaign5697
Madison54056
Boone40716
Sangamon33226
DeKalb3313
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21210
Stephenson1952
Ogle1922
Macon18819
Peoria1858
Clinton17816
Out of IL1771
Union1417
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13310
Iroquois1314
Unassigned1200
Coles1159
Warren1140
Jefferson10116
Knox950
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee761
Tazewell683
Cass670
Henry670
Williamson541
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin421
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas280
Jo Daviess270
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Mercer150
Carroll132
Franklin120
Piatt120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
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Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
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Saline70
Effingham61
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Marshall50
De Witt40
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Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
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