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Construction Erosion Bill Amended To Allow Some Local Control

New homes being built in Greensburg, Kansas, 2008

New homes being built in Greensburg, Kansas, 2008. (FEMA/ John Shea)

A controversial bill regarding erosion on construction sites is headed back to the state House. It wouldn’t allow local governments to make stricter erosion control rules than state ones. But now, after a Senate amendment, there’s one exception. 

Legislators recently amended the bill to allow local governments to make stricter erosion regulations for projects covering less than an acre of land. The state doesn’t currently have rules for these very small construction sites.

Kerry Daily heads the legislative committee for the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management. He says the sites tend to be closer to the road and so sediment can more quickly find its way into storm drains and then local waterways.

“There’s a lot less room for error on these sites and — from what we’ve heard from some of our members — that those are the sites they get the most public complaints about,” Daily says.

Daily says local governments should be allowed to makes rules that are stricter than what the state requires to protect sensitive areas like parks and wetlands.

The Hoosier Environmental Council approves of the amendment, but still opposes the bill saying it puts the state’s waterways at greater risk. Proponents of the bill say it would make erosion control rules more consistent across the state.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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