HEC Technical & Legal Assistance Policy

The Hoosier Environmental Council will make our best efforts to assist every affected individual and/or community group/partner in at least a modest way by:

  • Offering a specific referral (i.e. specialized attorney, engineer, scientist or reporter);
  • Making a key policymaker aware of the issue (e.g. executive agency leader, state legislator, or locally elected officials);
  • Raising awareness of the issue with appropriate segments of our supporter base;
  • Providing technical reports or other useful materials.

To be involved substantively in a matter, HEC senior policy staff consider the following factors:

  • HEC in-house capacity and resources (appropriate legal, technical knowledge);
  • The continuing time commitment from the prospective partner;
  • Whether the partner has some modest financial means for sustaining the project;
  • Whether the matter is in alignment with, and advancing, HEC strategic goals
  • If the matter is unaddressed by IDEM, DNR, INDOT, or local government body
  • The impact to staff time/financial resources considerations;
  • The nature and scope of the problem (i.e., geographic scope, urgency, number of people impacted, sensitive natural areas, etc.);
  • The likelihood of successful resolution;
  • The conduct of professionalism and civil discourse on the part of prospective partner – (e.g., does the partner engage in personal attacks, profanity, or unwarranted accusations).

HEC’s Legal Defense Fund (LDF)

When necessary, and in accordance with our Technical Assistance Policy above, HEC will undertake strategic environmental legal action to address a pollution threat or protect natural areas, will support select environmental legal actions by other citizen-based organizations, and/or serve as a fiscal agent for eligible community groups and organizations to help them fund the cost of litigation. These services are provided through HEC’s Legal Defense Fund established in 1993 to:

  • Undertake litigation to achieve HEC’s policy objectives;
  • Build a network of attorneys to provide legal representation for environmental interests in Indiana, and a roster of technical experts to assist them;
  • Help citizens and communities affected by environmental problems find legal representation through this network.

Tax-deductible contributions to HEC’s LDF can be used to pay for attorneys’ fees, expert witnesses, and other costs.

HEC also provides affordable legal assistance for Indiana citizens and communities facing environmental problems.

For more information, contact staff attorney Kim Ferraro.

For general questions about citizen rights at government meetings and hearings and how to obtain government records, please consult our Citizen Guide to Indiana’s Open Door and Public Records Access Laws

If you are fighting to protect your home and family from a newly proposed or existing concentrated animal feeding operation, read our CAFO citizen guide to better understand your legal rights at the state and local levels.

Are you looking for a reference to help you determine who to contact regarding an issue you or your community is experiencing? Please check into this report from the Great Lakes Center for Children’s Environmental Health: Investigating Environmental Contamination: A Guide for Communities. This report provides technical assistance, telephone consultations, and training by experts on environmental health issues.