As the 2020 Indiana legislative session moves towards ending, environmental groups are closely watching a bill about deregulating wetlands. After passing in the Senate, S-B 299 is in the hands of the House Committee on Local Government. The measure would exempt drain reconstruction from Indiana’s wetland regulation. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council says that means county surveyors could adjust the size, depth or route of regulated drains without permits or state oversight. According to the bill text, more than two-thousand permits have been processed for the more than one-thousand regulated drains in the state since 2015. Frank says the measure could result in the loss of wetlands that are needed to purify water, prevent flooding and provide habitat for wildlife. Frank notes that more than 85-percent of the state’s original wetlands have already been lost. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is also opposed to the bill for its possible impacts on water control.
February 21st, 2020|Local News|