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State Won't Respond to E-Mail

Jul 20, 2007

State won't respond to e-mail

By Gitte Laasby Post-Tribune staff writer

Citizens who voiced their protests about BP Whiting's wastewater permit by e-mail should have included their address or sent their comments by regular mail.

Otherwise they're not guaranteed a response from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Commissioner Thomas Easterly said at a news conference Thursday.

He said IDEM had sent out 52 hard copies of the final permit to "interested parties," but acknowledged that IDEM may not have responded to all e-mails.

"No, e-mails are, in the state of Indiana, not a legal way to send in a comment," Easterly said. "While we would like to be able to say we've always responded to e-mails, that's not our official comment way and we don't have the right name and address and that may not get a response."

State law doesn't require the agency to respond to comments by e-mail, he said.

IDEM listed e-mail as a way to comment on BP's permit, but didn't mention that a mailing address was required for a response.

"I think that if they're going to require that you have that information, they should make that plain," said Charles Gray of Lafayette.

IDEM did respond to comments in a document posted on its Web site, but Gray said IDEM should have e-mailed people a link to the posting.

Anna Cicirelli of Battle Ground, Ind., said IDEM should do a better job of involving and listening to the concerns of the general public, not just send notices to environmental groups.

"I don't think your opinion counts for much. That's been my impression," Cicirelli said.



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