By John Summerlin - Lead Compliance Manager, Indiana & Kentucky // 2021-11-15
Indiana governmental administrators signed SEA 389, an anti-wetlands bill, into law in late April of 2021, unbeknownst to many state residents. Throughout the lobbying process, amendments were implemented that significantly altered the trajectory of the Senate version of SB 389. Despite the efforts of Indiana’s most influential conservational organizations, the bill remained on path towards the governor’s desk with legislative intent to drastically reduce wetland protection. The final version of the bill effectively eliminates the protection of Class I wetlands and appreciably reduces protection for Class II.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has since publicly stated that Indiana has already lost 85% of its existing wetlands due to large-scale industrialism and a myriad of other factors. Certain original measures that would mitigate wetland development no longer require utilization as specific agricultural wetlands (without federal protection) can now be developed. The potential repercussions of this law could include a widespread reduction of biodiversity, the degradation of critical wildlife habitats, and an increased risk of area-specific flooding. Economic benefits may be produced through the bill’s introduction to common-place legislature, although the eradication of wetland development alleviation could prove to be environmentally detrimental down the line.
The mission of Earthworks Environmental to keep clients compliant is not only relevant regarding on-site items, but also through the monitorization of extrinsic variables, including such legislative action. The potential environmentally pernicious nature of this law may come to light as time passes, however, Earthworks Environmental personnel will be sure to consistently apply current regulatory precepts in order to feasibly protect our clients and the environment in which they operate.
Glass Web Projects. (2021, May 25). Bill Watch 2021. Hoosier Environmental Council. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://www.hecweb.org/bill-watch-2021/
Indiana Wildlife Federation. (2021, April 8). SB 389: Indiana Wetlands Need Your Help Again - Indiana Wildlife Federation. Indiana Wildlife Federation - Promoting the conservation of Indiana's wildlife and habitat through education, advocacy, and action. Retrieved September 22, 2021, from https://indianawildlife.org/2021/04/08/sb-389-indiana-wetlands-need-your-help-again/