Indiana’s primary environment enforcement agency has been “kneecapped” by staff cuts of 16% in the last decade, according to a recent report.
“There are many smart, hard-working people at Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management, but their ability to do the work the state needs is curtailed by severe resource limitations and repeated budget cuts,” said Indra Frank, Hoosier Environmental Council’s Environmental Health and Water Policy Director.
The agency’s funding fell by 20% from 2007 to 2018, hampering its ability to protect the public, according to the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project.
There are certain things IDEM has to do by law, like process permit applications, said Janet McCabe, Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute Director, a former EPA and IDEM official. When budget cuts fall, it often affects “discretionary” duties like enforcement, she said.