(April 19, 2021) Last week the Indiana General Assembly ignored public outcry and disregarded the importance of wetlands for local communities and birds by passing Senate Bill 389, now Senate Enrolled Act 389, which strips protections for over 400,000 acres of Indiana’s wetlands. Marnie Urso, Senior Policy Director for Audubon Great Lakes issued the following statement in response to the passage of Senate Bill 389.
“Over the past few weeks, concerned Indiana residents have repeatedly spoken out against the passage of Senate Bill 389, which threatens protections for many of Indiana’s crucial wetlands while putting our communities and wildlife at risk.
The House Environmental Affairs Committee passed a bill that struck a balance between the interests of stakeholders, but amendments added on the House floor, and subsequently passed by the House and the Senate, blew that balance out of the water for the sake of one special interest group. This is not the way to reach sound public policy. We call on Governor Eric Holcomb to send a clear message and veto this bill.
Indiana ranks fourth among the states with the greatest loss of wetlands with 85 percent of its original wetlands already gone. If this legislation becomes law, over 400,000 more acres will be at risk – acres that include critical wetland habitat for birds and wildlife like the Black Tern, Marsh Wren, Least Bittern, and Pied-billed Grebe.
As we lose wetlands, we also lose the benefits they provide to our communities including protection from flooding and drought, keeping the water in our inland lakes and streams clean, and supporting the state’s outdoor recreation economy.
Audubon urges Governor Holcomb to protect Indiana’s wetlands, wildlife and communities and veto this damaging bill.”
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.
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