Tag: sackett v. epa

Indiana Wetland Protection Rollback Threatens Great Lakes

A new Indiana law that weakens the state’s wetland protection framework will have repercussions beyond Indiana’s borders.

Indiana’s move follows a U.S, Supreme Court ruling last year that gutted federal wetland protection under the Clean Water Act and gave states leeway to weaken their wetland protections. The ruling removed federal protection for about 50% of the nation’s wetlands. Indiana had already weakened its wetland law in 2021.

Wetlands have multiple benefits. They filter pollutants, provide habitat for fish and wildlife, and reduce flooding by storing and slowly releasing excessive flows.

Because flowing waters cross state boundaries, weakening wetland protection in Indiana will have an impact on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds.

Indiana’s new move will compound ecological damage sustained by over a century of development. The state has lost an estimated 85% of its original wetland acreage.

The Indiana law that just took effect lowers protections for the most sensitive wetlands in the state, in less developed settings that often contain rare, threatened or endangered species. 

Michigan has a stronger wetland law and program than the federal minimums. The 2023 Supreme Court ruling is having little impact on state protection of Michigan’s wetlands. Similarly, Wisconsin’s expansive wetland protection authority is limiting the impact of the Supreme Court decision.