Indiana wetlands continue to be in the crosshairs during the 2024 session with HB 1383. Backed by the Indiana Builders Association, state officials are once again reworking classifications of wetlands reducing many of our highly protected Class III wetlands down to just Class I and II.
Wednesday, HB 1383 passed out of the Senate Environmental Affairs Committee by a 7-2 vote despite the majority of the 20 testimonies being in opposition. The bill now goes to the senate floor for a second reading which is expected to take place February 6th.
So what happens? The bill reduces protections on the little amount of existing wetlands making them easier to drain and then non-conservation minded builders and developers swoop in and continue building. As Aldo Leopold put it "conservation is the state of harmony between men and land". With this there is a greater potential to see more extreme flooding, polluted waters, increase of toxic blue green algae in our waterways, and less diverse ecosystems in our outdoors just to name a few of the effects.
Check out the following article from IndyStar
Wetlands are vital to the health of all Indiana residents and wildlife. Wetlands are the sponges that soak up pollutants, control flooding, filter out human drinking water, and provide crucial habitat for wildlife. Indiana has lost 85% of its wetlands in the past century and continues to lose what little remains by this type of irregulated government. Indiana has just lost an additional 265 acres since deregulation of wetlands occurred in 2021. Doesn't sound like much, but when we've already lost 85%, another 265 acres makes an impact!
Ending with another Aldo Leopold quote "the last word in ignorance is a man who says of an animal or plant: What good is it?"