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IDEM is empowered by both federal and state authority.
Although federal environmental laws enacted by Congress and signed by the United States President generally empower the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) to regulate activities that could impact the environment, U.S. EPA often delegates its authority to the individual states. For example, IDEM is empowered by the U.S. EPA to implement the federal Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act on behalf of U.S. EPA.
IDEM is also empowered by state environmental laws enacted by the Indiana General Assembly and signed into law by the governor. Some of these state laws authorize IDEM to implement federal environmental laws on behalf of the state. Other state environmental laws allow IDEM to regulate activities not specifically regulated by the federal government. State law can also allow IDEM to impose additional standards more strict than federal standards, but no state law can be less strict than federal law The state also has created environmental boards to adopt rules to clarify how the state laws, as well as the federal laws the state is empowered to enforce, are carried out.