Public records on waste missing

You’re shocked, I know.

In this case, it’s not government waste but records about industrial waste.

Records on waste issues at Bethlehem Steel also appear to be missing.

When the Post-Tribune visited IDEM’s Indianapolis file room in 2007, IDEM staff found at least 6 feet of paperwork related to Bethlehem Steel. But during a visit in mid-May 2009, IDEM staff found only 2 feet of documents. Others had a similar experience.

“I just went down and asked where the Bethlehem Steel files are,” said Larry Davis, an ArcelorMittal worker and member of Save the Dunes Council. “It used to be anything to do with waste was never supposed to be purged. There used to be heaps of files. You’d spend a short lifetime down there going through a big company like that. None of that is on the virtual file cabinet. I don’t know what happened to those files.”

IDEM is scanning files from its archives into its searchable database online. During the transition, many files have disappeared from the archives.

Are there any consequences when public records are mislaid, or someone can’t find them, or they are archived in such an archaic way that retrieving them becomes prohibitively expensive?

Not that I’m aware of, but maybe there should be.


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