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Indiana Department of Environmental Management


Chapter 5: Table of Contents

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Chapter 5 - Section II: Rulemaking

The Rulemaking Process

The Indiana rulemaking process is designed to allow the public to provide input. While this is a benefit to citizens, gathering this input lengthens how long it takes to adopt a rule. As a result, a rule can take from 18 months to several years to be created and enacted.

The first part of the formal rulemaking process is when IDEM publishes a “first notice” in the Indiana Register. The first notice says what the rule will address and how it will be changed. The first notice does not usually have the actual changes, or “language,” of the rule. Once the first notice is published, citizens have approximately 30 days to send written comments to IDEM, which are published in the Indiana Register.

A “second notice” is published in the Indiana Register with the draft language of the new rule. If the rule modifies an old rule, new language is included in bold and removed language is crossed out. Like the first notice, the second notice has a public comment period and the comments received will be published in the Indiana Register. This comment period lasts a minimum of 30 days.

In some cases, the first and second notice does not take place in the Indiana Register. “Workgroups,” informal meetings to discuss the concept of new rules, are composed of IDEM staff, interested parties, and representatives of regulated entities. The workgroup’s goal is to educate interested parties about the rule and to reach a consensus about changes to the rule.

The “public hearing for preliminary adoption” happens during an environmental board meeting. IDEM and the public have the opportunity to give oral comments before the board votes to preliminarily adopt the rule. If the rule is preliminarily adopted, a third public comment period of 21 days is required. Additional workgroup meetings may be held.

A second public hearing occurs before the board votes on the final adoption of the rule. The board can vote to adopt amendments suggested by the board or by members of the audience. The board can also direct IDEM to hold more meetings if more time is needed to develop the rule.

After the board finally adopts the rule, IDEM sends a copy to the Indiana Attorney General to review the rule and a description of the rulemaking process that lead to the rule change. Next, the Governor signs the rule and files it with the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office. The rule becomes effective 30 days after filing and the final rule is published in the Indiana Register.

Rulemaking Timeline

  1. 1st Notice (in Indiana Register)
    • (No specific rule language at this time). 30-day public comment period.
  2. 2nd Notice (in Indiana Register)
    • Notice includes draft rule language and usually includes notice of first public hearing. 30-day public comment period.
  3. 1st Public Hearing
    • The proposed rule could be preliminarily adopted by the board.
  4. Publication (in Indiana Register) of "Proposed" (or preliminarily adopted) Rule
    • This publication could include announcement of a third public comment period (at least 21 days) if the language is substantially different from the 2nd notice. This publication also may include notice of a 2nd public hearing.
  5. 2nd Public Hearing
    • The rule could be final adopted by the board.
  6. Final adopted rule reviewed by Attorney General and, after approval, signed by Governor
  7. Final adopted rule filed with Secretary of State
    • Rule usually becomes effective 30 days later, unless a later effective date is specified.
  8. Publication (in Indiana Register) of Final Adopted Rule

Submitting Comments on Draft Rules

You can keep track of which rules are open for comment by:

  1. reading notices published monthly in the Indiana Register, which is published on the first day of every month;
  2. by checking IDEM's Rules in Progress Web page; or,
  3. you can ask staff if you can be notified about a specific rule. You may submit comments in writing to the address listed in the notice. Comments can be mailed, faxed, or hand delivered.