Conservation Bill Watch 2017
Photo: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits
We have listed a selection of bills related to conservation issues. Bills will be noted as to our position - SUPPORT, OPPOSE, or bills we have decided to WATCH and may take action on later.
We encourage you to also use the Indiana General Assembly website to get more details about your legislators, session activities and other bills. You can also watch live and archived video of sessions.
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To see when bills reach the governor's desk, please check the Governor's 2017 Bill Watch page.
Legislation for the 2017 Session
SB256 Benjamin Harrison conservation trust - Sen. Tallian -- SUPPORT -- Passed the Senate 48-0
- This bill provides a framework for future conservation funding and incorporates the former Indiana Heritage Trust. The bill does not provide specific mechanisms for funding conservation.
SB294 Bovine Tuberculosis testing - Sen. Leising -- WATCH -- Passed both Senate Committee on Agriculture and Senate Committe on Appropriations
SB420 Old forests in state forest areas - Sen. Bassler -- OPPOSE as is currently written
- This bill does not support sustainable forest management that is necessary to provide diverse wildlife habitat and healthy mixed age forests. One of the challenges in strategic management of Indiana’s forests is rebalancing age distribution. Overall, Indiana forests are getting older and more even aged than desired. “Old forests” are plentiful in Indiana - there is no managed timber harvest in the Hoosier National Forest, the State Parks and Reservoirs, and State Fish and Wildlife Areas. The small portion of public forest that is under the State Division of Forestry should not be prohibited from science-based sustainable management of the forests under their responsibility.
HB1001 Biennial budget -- WATCH -- Passed House Committee on Ways and Means 14-9
- Support increased funding for conservation
HB1202 Ownership of the banks of the Ohio River - Rep. Arnold -- OPPOSE
- This bill moves the public access along the Ohio River from the high water mark to the low water mark. This would eliminate much public access to Ohio River and sets dangerous precedent for other inland waterbodies.
HB1415 Various natural resources matters - Rep. Eberhart --
WATCH change to OPPOSE due to amendment that cuts DNR funding -- Passed the House 81-7
- This is the annual DNR “clean up” bill that covers a variety of small changes. One key piece that IWF supports is moving authority from the State Legislature to the Natural Resources Commission to set commercial fishing license fees, and is in line with NRC’s authority to set recreational fishing license fees.
HB1494 Regulation of confined feeding operations – Wolkins -- OPPOSE -- Passed House Committee on Environmental Affairs 7-3
- HB1494 would remove the important prior approval requirement for construction of large Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s).
- Lax permitting requirements threaten Indiana’s streams and rivers, and could seriously degrade the aquatic habitats fish and other wildlife require, as well as the significant public recreation and potable water source impacts. CAFO operations have incredibly large and toxic waste outputs that eventually end up in ditches, streams, rivers, and groundwater. If not constructed properly, they can significantly impair Indiana’s water resources, particularly related to excess nutrient loads that can cause toxic algal blooms that threaten not only wildlife, but public drinking water supplied. Proper design of CAFO’s, particularly the waste streams, should be reviewed and approved by the State prior to beginning construction.
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Please contact us if you have a question about a specific piece of legislation or anything else.
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