Cummins Inc. deserves a thumbs-up for recently self-reporting a violation of its air permit paperwork to state and federal environmental officials.
“We wanted to be as transparent as possible,” Cummins spokesman Jon Mills said Friday morning. “We want to keep the community informed” and offer assurance that community health was never threatened.
Only one of the units affected in the permit error was in use and it had not approached even 50 percent of allowable emissions, Seymour Engine Plant manager Darren Wildman added. That is not contested by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
As part of an agreed order between Cummins and that department, the Columbus-based engine maker will pay an $11,250 fine for errors in its paperwork for permits governing new equipment at the Seymour factory, part of its $219 million expansion project for its new Hedgehog engine.
We appreciate that Cummins takes its corporate citizen responsibilities seriously, as illustrated by it reporting the mistake. We also appreciate that the company reported its mistake and fine to the community by contacting The Tribune.
If plans by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s air quality division proceed as outlined earlier this year, it’s likely such a fine could go undetected by the Hoosier public. That’s because the division wants to stop printing public notices about its business in Indiana newspapers.
The state Office of Air Quality wants approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop publishing legal notices of its public hearings. Instead, the department plans to post such notices online and make them available to anyone who requests them electronically.
We’ve said in this space before — multiple times — that such a policy should not be allowed. It will not serve Hoosiers well.
That a state agency charged with keeping our air clean would take a step to prevent people from learning about efforts to protect — or harm — the quality of our air is inconceivable. All Hoosiers have a right to that knowledge. If this is allowed to happen, what’s next?
Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Office of Air Quality should continue its public notice advertising.
Transparency and accountability require it. Hoosiers should demand it.
What do you think? What’s your opinion on this topic? Send your comments to email@example.com. You can find copies of earlier editorials online at TribTown.com.
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