When the Indiana legislature passes new environmental laws, the language within the laws is often broad and general. The legislature may grant IDEM the authority to develop rules that detail how the agency will implement and enforce the laws. Rules may include the types of operations or facilities that must comply with the law, what is required of them, and how IDEM will monitor compliance. IDEM also develops rules when the federal government passes new environmental regulations with which Indiana must comply. Additional IDEM interpretations of specific laws and rules may be described in nonrule policy documents, which do not have the effect of law but offer clarification to the public.
IDEM’s Role in Rulemaking
IDEM staff in the Rules Development Branch of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) draft new rules and amendments to existing rules in collaboration with the agency’s Office of Air Quality, Office of Land Quality, and Office of Water Quality. Rules staff present rules under development to the boards that make final decisions about adoption of the rules:
- The Environmental Rules Board (ERB) was established under Indiana Code (IC) 13-13-8 to adopt rules to regulate air pollution, solid and hazardous waste, and water pollution.
- The Underground Storage Tank Financial Assurance Board was established under IC 13-23-11 to adopt rules to regulate reimbursement of claims from the Excess Liability Trust Fund, which supports the cleanup of petroleum releases from underground storage tanks.
The agency may form a workgroup based on public interest or the agency’s need for input when developing rules. Workgroups provide a forum for interested parties to discuss proposed changes and provide feedback. The rules staff serves as the administrative arm of the boards, scheduling meetings and providing administrative support at each meeting. Rule writers are the points of contact for the public on each of their rulemaking projects.
IDEM must follow the rulemaking process set forth in IC 13-14-9. The process involves several opportunities for public comment and input and the opportunity for IDEM and the public to testify before the boards. There are several steps in the rulemaking process, which generally takes about 18 to 24 months to complete.
IDEM notifies the public about rulemaking activities via official public notices in the Indiana Register. Relevant information, public hearing dates, and agency points of contact are included in the notices.
Rules in Progress
IDEM works on several rulemakings at any given time. All details related to IDEM rulemakings currently underway and archives of past rulemaking activities are posted online and organized by the title of the Indiana Administrative Code where the rule will be located.
- Title 318 - Indiana Department of Environmental Management (Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup Rules)
- Title 326 - Air Pollution Control Division
- Title 327 - Water Pollution Control Division
- Title 328 - Underground Storage Tank Financial Assurance Board (Excess Liability Trust Fund Rules)
- Title 329 - Solid Waste Management Division (Solid Waste, Hazardous Waste, Underground Storage Tank, and Remediation Rules)
The estimated time for the next step in the rulemaking process for active rulemakings varies, depending on the rule. To determine the exact date on which IDEM will present a specific rule to a board for action, refer to the meeting calendar and agenda for the board meeting, which IDEM posts on the board packets webpages, or contact the rule writer.
The rules boards hold public hearings for adoption of rules during board meetings. The rules staff provide a board packet for each rule the board is considering prior to the adoption of the rule. Board packets include all associated materials, including draft rule language and IDEM responses to comments from interested parties. IDEM provides board packets and a meeting agenda approximately one week before the meetings.
An open forum at the end of each board meeting provides the opportunity for interested parties to bring issues before the board. If a meeting is cancelled, IDEM will announce the cancellation on the board packets webpages and the agency calendar webpage.
To receive electronic updates on rulemaking activities, sign up for GovDelivery Email Updates. (Check the boxes next to the “Board and Rules” listings in the “Legal Counsel” section under “Environmental Management, Department of.” Be sure to check the boxes next to the board packet listings to receive board packets.)
A professional court reporter produces a verbatim record of every Environmental Rules Board meeting. IDEM posts the transcripts online as they become available.