The Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, Commissioner briefed legislators and representatives from Hoosier business sectors on the state of the Indiana environment Thursday.
IDEM Commissioner Tom Easterly spoke at length about a report on 25 years of progress in Indiana environmental conditions. Though the strides have been enormous in improving air quality, pollution control and water quality, Easterly says there is still work to be done. He singled out issues like keeping water free of new or increased discharge, regulation of confined animal feeding on large farms and new guidelines for cleaning contamination sites. But he says the biggest challenge is moving ahead on all the new regulations.
“It’s getting people to come to agreement on some of our major rule-making initiatives going forward,” Easterly said.
Greenfield Senator Beverly Gard says the legislature can act as a mediator, bringing major stakeholders together to foster agreement. But Gard says the General Assembly also faces a challenge in environmental policy.
“Balancing the need for continuing to improve the quality of the environment in the state and at the same time preserving a strong economic base in this state,” Gard said.
Gard’s legislative council will continue to meet throughout the summer on a number of environmental issues, preparing a report for the General Assembly’s next session.