House honors Pelath’s final bill by unanimously passing measure to curb Lake Michigan erosion

March 1, 2018 Scott Pelath

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members today unanimously approved a measure sponsored by State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) that will mitigate erosion along Lake Michigan’s lakefront. The bill now awaits Governor Eric Holcomb’s signature to become law.

Senate Bill (SB) 178, which was authored by State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage), is designed to mitigate the effects of piers, ports, and other manmade structures on the distribution of sand and sediments along the lakefront. The bill provisions direct that any sand dredged from Lake Michigan’s lakebed be reallocated to areas suffering from erosion.

“For reasons of both hydrology and meteorology, sand and sediment tend to swirl around Lake Michigan in a clockwise pattern,” said Pelath. “Manmade structures interrupt this pattern, with the consequence that some areas have too much sand and others not enough. Some of the problem is an endurable consequence of civilization, but the legislation will help beach sections suffering from damage and erosion.”

Tallian shared the assessment.

“Lake Michigan remains an economic engine for the entire state,” she said. “However, the effects of human activity sometimes must be realigned with the lake’s natural qualities. This common sense measure will help preserve the lake for both commerce and our enjoyment.”

House members noted that SB 178 was the final bill of Pelath’s 20-year legislative career. The occasion was marked with a standing ovation once the final vote was tallied.

“We will all be gone one day, and it is our obligation to preserve Lake Michigan for future generations,” said Pelath. “It was just the right bill to end on.”

The other signatories to SB 178 included State Sens. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago), Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores), Blake Doriot (R-Syracuse), Eddie Melton (D-Gary) and State Reps. Hal Slager (R-Schererville), Chuck Moseley (D-Portage), Sean Eberhart (R-Shelbyville), and Mara Candelaria-Reardon (D-Munster).