The anti-wetlands bill, SEA 389, was signed into law on April 29, 2021. Please read the statement jointly issued by several organizations.
This table compares different versions of the bill as it went through the process.
|Senate version SB 389||House Committee version of SB 389||Final Version of SEA 389|
|Indiana Wetlands Law||Repeals||Modifies||Modifies|
|Class I wetlands||Removes protection||Leaves current law intact||Removes protection|
|Class II wetlands||Removes protection||Leaves current law intact||Reduces protection|
|Class III wetlands||Removes protection||Leaves current law intact||Leaves current law intact|
|Cumulative impact||Removes requirements||Leaves current law intact||Reduces requirements|
|Ephemeral streams||No change||Leaves current law intact||Removes protection|
|Compensatory mitigation||Removes requirements||Moderately reduces requirements||Significantly reduces requirements|
|Wetlands that exist “only because of an ephemeral stream”||Removes protection||Removes protection||Removes protection|
|Development of cropland with wetland||No restrictions||If used for agriculture in the last 10 years||If used for agriculture in the last 10 years|
|Maintain a field tile within a wetland||No restrictions||With a permit if it does not drain the wetland||With a permit if it does not drain the wetland|
|IDEM’s time to issue a wetland permit||Not applicable||Reduces from 120 to 90 days||Reduces from 120 to 90 days|
|Statement that the goal is “a net gain in high quality wetlands”||Eliminates||Eliminates||Eliminates|
In the 1980s, it was estimated that only 15% of Indiana’s original wetlands were left. In 2003, the legislature recognized the value of preserving the remaining wetlands and wrote the state wetlands law.
Wetlands a.) provide critical wildlife habitat, b.) absorb large quantities of water which reduces flood risk, c.) recharge groundwater, and d.) purify water as detailed in this recording of the Feb 24 wetlands symposium, The Value of All Wetlands: Indiana Researchers Weigh In.
Please also read:
- Mythbusting on SB 389
- List of opposing organizations
- Wetland scientist brief
- Economic benefit of wetlands
SB 389 IN THE NEWS:
Find articles covering Senate Bill 389 below and share them with your legislator!
https://www.ibj.com/articles/jesse-kharbanda-restrictions-must-remain-to-protect-wildlife-and-more – Op-Ed by Jesse Kharbanda, HEC’s E.D.
https://indianapolisstar-in.newsmemory.com?selDate=20210214&goTo=A023&artid=1 – Letter to the Editor by Jim Sweeney
Op-ed by former state Senator Beverly Gard, who now chairs the Indiana Environmental Rules Board
Op-ed by Senator Garten in favor of repealing Indiana’s wetlands law
Op-ed by Indiana University faculty
The wetland violation that led to SB 389
April 7, 2021 Star coverage of House committee amendment
April 7, 2021 The Times of Northwest Indiana coverage of House committee amendment