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Sierra Club, Ohio Chapter

House Bill 320 - Wetland Destruction Act

Fact Sheet, October 3, 2001

Sierra Club Position:
The Sierra Club opposes House Bill 320.

Description:
Ohio has already lost 90% of its wetlands. Remaining wetlands are already being destroyed and "replaced" by man-made ones. These new wetlands are not of comparable quality as the ones being destroyed. A report from the National Academy of Sciences concluded, "The goal of no net loss of wetlands is not being met for wetland functions by the mitigation program." Now developers want an easier way of destroying wetlands, lakes, and streams.

House Bill 320 will make it easier for developers to destroy wetlands and other Ohio waters including rivers, lakes, and streams. Continued loss of wetlands means:

  • Destruction of important habitat especially for endangered species and migratory birds,
  • Increases in water pollution further threatening the habitat of fish and other aquatic life, and
  • Increased flooding for Ohio's families.

House Bill 320 Reduces Public Participation
The public will have less opportunity to monitor protection of Ohio's wetlands, lakes, and streams. House Bill 320:

  • Decreases public comment period from 30 to 14 days,
  • Does not allow for second hearing if application is changed, and
  • Eliminates the role of public oversight for some types of wetlands.

House Bill 320 Reduces Protections for Ohio's Wetlands and Other Natural Areas
Ohio's laws are already leading to a net loss in wetlands. House Bill 320 further weakens this environmental review process. House Bill 320:

  • Promotes wetland mitigation, an unproven procedure of replacing natural wetlands with man-made ones,
  • Weakens the review already in place for destruction of wetlands, lakes, and streams,
  • Presumes that permits will be issued.

Sponsor: Representative Keith Faber (R-Celina)

Status: In House Energy and Environment Committee.

Please contact your state representative and ask them to oppose House Bill 320. Also please contact Governor Taft by calling 614/466-3555 and ask him to oppose this damaging legislation.

For More Information:
125th Ohio General Assembly Online