The Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s proposal for preliminary adoption of rules on Wetland Water Quality Standards and §401 Water Quality Certification Procedures has hit a brick wall. Following two public hearings on the proposed rules, IDEM’s are in limbo. Industry and business interests came out in full force to oppose the rules, claiming undue hardship would result from unreasonable requirements, even though Indiana has lost 87% of its wetlands due to filling and draining.
Among other issues, critics are claiming that the added protection for dune and swale wetlands (considered Tier II wetlands in the proposed rule) should not apply to dune and swale wetlands that are significantly degraded. Much of the remaining unprotected dune and swale is degraded to some extent. It has been proposed that enhancement/preservation of quality sites should suffice as mitigation for impacts, in spite of no net loss goals.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is meeting with representatives from both industry and environmental organizations to clarify and address concerns. IDEM has granted Save the Dunes’ request for a meeting with environmentalists in northwest Indiana. All environmentalists are welcome (call Sandy at 219-879-3564). We continue to push for adequate protection of our wetlands!