The budget for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been reduced by approximately $35 million in the last decade, according to a report by nonprofit organization the Environmental Integrity Project.
IDEM oversees water and air safety, hazardous spills, emergency response and other key environmental factors for the state of Indiana. The department is also responsible for monitoring Indiana companies to ensure they are operating within the state’s legal clean air and water guidelines.
The department’s funding comes from state and federal funds and income from waste permit fees purchased by Indiana companies. The report found that these cuts to the IDEM budget came despite an overall increase in Indiana’s government spending budget.
“These cuts happened despite the fact that our economy was growing and our overall state spending was growing," Indra Frank, the environmental health and water policy director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, told WSBT. “It’s not that Indiana couldn’t afford to staff an environmental agency.”
State Budget Director Zac Jackson told WSBT that the budget had decreased because fewer companies were purchasing waste permits due to the state’s more environmentally conscious attitude in recent years.
The full article from WSBT is available here.