Wetlands bill vote canceled. What happens next?

On Monday, the bill was set to be voted on by the Indiana House Environmental Affairs Committee. However, due to growing attention and conversation from Hoosiers, the vote was canceled.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 8:37 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- There are new developments on Senate Bill 389, the wetlands bill News 10 has been covering for several months. On Monday, the bill was set to be voted on by the Indiana House Environmental Affairs Committee. However, due to growing attention and conversation from Hoosiers, the vote was canceled.

SB 389 has caught the attention of builders, farmers, activists, and residents across the state. If passed, the bill would repeal the state's wetlands regulation law and help developers, builders, and farmers with advancing projects quickly.

"Anytime there are less regulations, less permitting, and those things, that we have to do, it's going to make things more efficient. It's going to make it easier on us to get the job done in a timely manner, but also more cost-effective if we don't have a lot of extra expenses and time that we have to spend," said Indiana farmer, Carter Morgan.

Those who oppose the bill say it will negatively impact Indiana's water quality, migration of birds and insects, and also create flooding problems. State Representative Tonya Pfaff, who opposes the bill, believes a two-hour committee session is not enough time to discuss the scope of the wetlands bill.

"Send this to a task force or a study committee so that over the summer or in the fall, we can actually take time and hear from both sides of who wants it and who doesn't want it, the reason why, the reasons why not, and then come together with IDM and DNR and form a nice working relationship so that everyone's happy," said Pfaff.

Pfaff told News 10 that committee meetings must end by Wednesday. If the bill is not voted on by then, it could be put into another bill during the Conference Committee Session in the next two weeks, or just go away.

The Republican Caucus is now planning to debate the bill internally before deciding the next steps. To share your support or opposition to SB 389, you can contact your state representative. To find out who your representative is, visit here.

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