News release, Indiana Department of Environmental Management:

On Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, representatives from IDEM’s Office of Air Quality Permits Branch arrived at East Chicago Public High School for a scheduled public meeting to discuss an air permitting renewal application for BP Products North America Inc.’s Whiting Business Unit.

As recently as last month, the school served as a location for IDEM public meetings due to the auditorium’s ability to accommodate larger crowds. However, moments before Thursday’s meeting was set to begin, the school district superintendent informed IDEM staff that he had concerns about proceeding with members of the media present. Discussions with IDEM representatives regarding the need for media access proved unproductive, with the superintendent ultimately denying media and public access to the building and canceling the meeting.

“IDEM permitting staff came to East Chicago prepared to engage with the public and answer questions about BP’s permit renewal application. We are disappointed that this opportunity was not provided last night,”¬†said IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess. “Community involvement and transparency is a vital component of the governmental process and IDEM is committed to providing opportunities for engagement that include the public and the media.”

IDEM plans to reschedule the public meeting and is currently reviewing suitable venues in the area. A specific date, time, and location will be announced at a later date. Once a meeting is scheduled, details can be found at idem.IN.gov/public-notices. Additionally, IDEM will extend the public comment period for this permit renewal to coincide with the rescheduled public meeting.

To submit public written comments to IDEM staff specific to this air permit, please contact:

Doug Logan
IDEM, Office of Air Quality
100 North Senate Avenue
MC 61-53 IGCN 1003
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2251
(800) 451-6027, ask for Doug Logan or dial directly: (317) 234-7460
Fax: (317) 232-6749, Attn: Doug Logan
E-mail: dalogan@idem.IN.gov