It’s time for the Indiana Legislature to add funding to both the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
That’s the position the Hoosier Environmental Council is broadcasting this week, as the Legislature gets a final state revenue forecast before determining what the state’s budget will be for the next two years.
“There’s still time to influence what they do in that final budget bill,” said Tim Maloney, senior policy director for HEC, an environmental advocacy group.
Although there are many areas in the state budget that deserve funding, Maloney said that for the past decade, both IDEM and the state DNR have endured cuts to programming and staffing.
“It’s time that these programs get more attention as a priority,” he said. “These programs have been cut and have not been a priority for years.”
Maloney said the two agencies have been neglected for a long time, and it’s now becoming a public health issue as well as an economic one. More funding is needed to help with the state’s environmental protection of its water, air and land as well as ensuring Indiana’s conservation resources are maintained and expanded, he said.
And as funding at the federal level has become a concern, it’s even more important that the state Legislature ensure there is adequate money put into the agencies, Maloney explained. “(Environmental Protection Agency) cuts mean less federal money coming into IDEM. Cuts at the Department of Interior mean less money to DNR.”
He’s requesting that Indiana residents contact their state representatives and senators this week to let them know how important it is to increase funding for both IDEM and IDNR.
Contacting Gov. Eric Holcomb to request his support is also essential, Maloney said. “There’s still time to influence what they do in that final budget bill,” he said.