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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

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Chapter 2: Table of Contents

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Chapter 2 - Section II: Public Notice

This chart provides at-a-glance information about public notices: what they are, and how, when and why they’re issued.

  • What is a public notice?
  • How are public notices issued?
    • Through:
      • Legal notices in newspapers.
      • IDEM Web sites.
      • Letters and e-mails to interested parties.
      • Local radio announcements.
      • The Indiana Register.
  • Why are public notices issued?
    • To inform Hoosiers when IDEM is making decisions about certain permits, projects, and activities that might affect them.
    • To provide interested parties the opportunity to comment on IDEM actions.
  • When are public notices provided?
    • Legal public notices are provided when state statute requires IDEM to inform the public about proposed actions that may affect them or their property.
    • IDEM also works to notify the public about issues that citizens may be interested in, although the opportunity for citizen participation may not be required by law. These notices serve to inform and educate the public.

What is a legal public notice?

A legal public notice is an announcement to the public required by law. Legal public notices usually concern a project that requires the approval of IDEM, through the issuance of an environmental permit, or that could require the approval of some other local or federal government agency. The purpose is to announce a proposed activity to the public living in the affected area and allow for the public to comment on the action. In some cases, the regulated entity (a person, business, or governmental agency) is required to post the legal public notice.

Where a legal public notice is required, notification may be provided to the public in any or all of the following ways: it may be mailed or e-mailed to interested and/or affected parties, printed in the legal notice section of the local paper that serves the area affected by the activity being considered.

Not all IDEM actions require a legal public notice. Where public interest is significant but legal notice is not required, IDEM also may work to inform the public about the status of agency issues and activities. This can include postings on Web sites, news releases, paid advertisements in newspapers, fliers, and letters or e-mails to citizens who have expressed interest in a specific issue or asked to be kept informed.

What information is included in a public notice?

Information included in public notices may include:

  • The name of the person, business, or unit of local government seeking approval;
  • A description of the project or activity for which approval is being sought;
  • A description of the type of approval being sought (for example, the type of environmental permit being sought, a rule that is being developed or proposed, or an environmental study or report available for public comment);
  • The location of the proposed project or affected area;
  • The beginning and end dates of a formal public comment period (usually 30 days), during which time persons may submit comments or concerns regarding the proposed project or activity;
  • Where the public can find additional information or review public documents;
  • Instructions for requesting a public hearing;
  • Mailing address for submitting written public comments;
  • If IDEM has scheduled a public hearing or public meeting concerning the proposed project or activity, the location, date, and time; and,
  • Contact information for a person at IDEM who will be available to help answer questions and provide additional information to persons requesting it.

What activities require a public notice?

Activities requiring a public notice include:

  • Decisions about new environmental permits for certain projects or activities, including but not limited to the control of air emissions, the treatment and/or discharge of wastewater, and the management of solid and/or hazardous waste;
  • Decisions about renewing certain existing environmental permits;
  • Decisions about changing existing environmental permits (permit modifications);
  • Requests for certain permit variances;
  • Decisions about approving work plans for certain environmental clean-up projects;
  • Development and adoption of new state environmental rules or to change, renew, or cancel existing rules; or,
  • Certain reports, studies, and grant and loan activities.

How are public notices issued?

  • Newspapers - State law requires that all legal public notices be published in the largest newspaper of general circulation within the county where the activity discussed in the notice is to take place. Newspapers generally publish public notices in the "legal section" in small print.
  • IDEM’s Web sites
    • IDEM’s website provides links for public notices and news and events.
      • The IN.gov news and events calendar provides information about upcoming public meetings, events, networking sessions and educational opportunities provided by IDEM.
      • The IDEM Public Notices portal compiles all items out for public notice into one convenient location.
    • Indiana’s free e-mail subscription service provides automatic updates and notices for numerous issues, including public notices and rules (scroll down to “Environmental Management, Department of” and click the updates/notices you would like to receive).
  • Letters and e-mails from IDEM to parties who have been identified through the permit application process as “potentially affected” or who have requested notification.
    • Call IDEM at (800) 451-6027 and ask to speak with the permit department that interests you. If you do not have access to the Internet but would like to remain involved with environmental decision-making activities, ask staff how you can receive notifications about permitting issues.
    • IDEM’s Office of Air Quality maintains a mailing list of people who have asked to be notified of permit activity. You can request to be notified of permit actions related to either a specific source, or for all permit activity in a certain county. To be put on the mailing list, call the OAQ at 1-800-451-6027, press 0 and ask for ext. 3-0178, then ask for the Permits Administration Section.
  • Local radio broadcasts and announcements, for certain permitting issues.
  • The Indiana Register (also visit the User’s Guide for the Indiana Register [PDF]).