INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, January 25, Senate Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Mark Messmer is scheduled to give the anti-wetlands bill, Senate Bill (SB) 389, a hearing in committee. SB 389 is a potentially dangerous bill with broad deregulation that would irreversibly damage Indiana’s wetlands. The Ranking Minority Member on the Environmental Affairs Committee, State Senator Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington), and committee member State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) are in stark opposition of SB 389.

“Our state’s wetlands are in serious trouble if the legislature approves SB 389,” Sen. Tallian said. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has already curtailed its regulation of wetlands by certain administrative changes, eliminating much of our wetlands from federal control. At the same time that federal control was cut, a group of Indiana senators now wants to entirely repeal nearly all of Indiana’s own wetland regulations. We are proud Hoosiers, and this attempt to damage our great state’s beautiful land shows a lack of pride in the public lands our state has to offer.

“We are in disbelief that this bill would even receive a hearing. This bill should be referred to a study committee. But to repeal all of our wetland regulations – without any care as to the legal effect on issues like local ordinances, federal grant money, legal wetland conservation easements or storm water mitigation – is completely irresponsible.”

Sen. Yoder had the following to say: “We would now be leaving our state’s wetlands without any protection. Our wetlands capture toxins and clean our water, performing a vital role in maintaining safe, clean drinking water. Wetlands also prevent flooding. Opening our wetlands up for destruction will bring even more of the ostensibly once-in-a-millennium floods that our state experienced over the last thirteen years. This legislation jeopardizes wildlife, drinking water, Hoosier homes, marshlands, fishing and recreation. I will certainly oppose this bill in its current form.”

Hoosiers who oppose this bill should contact the Committee Chair, State Senator Mark Messmer. Hoosiers may also contact the other authors and co-authors of the bill:

  • Sen. Chris Garten
  • Sen. Linda Rogers
  • Sen. Scott Baldwin
  • Sen. Andy Zay
  • Sen. Jack Sandlin
  • Sen. Blake Doriot
  • Sen. Mike Gaskill
  • Sen. Rick Niemeyer

SB 389 is scheduled to be heard on Monday, January 25, in the Senate Chamber at 10 a.m. EST.