Why Conservatives Should Support Wetlands Protection Laws

Why Conservatives Should Support Wetlands Protection Laws February 28, 2017

This article from The State newspaper came to my attention this morning.  It concerns a proposed law that would, its opponents say, make it easier for developers to build on wetlands and other protected areas.

I haven’t researched the law, so I’m not writing on the particulars of it.  Like many conservatives, I’m generally in favor of less bureaucracy rather than more.  Like many conservative conservationists, I don’t automatically fall in with every single “green” idea heaped on the environmentalist buffet. I think it is important, however, that we not abandon common sense no matter which way we tend to lean on a given question.

Common sense on wetlands and floodplain development is this: You are not an amphibian.

Please do not build your road, business, or dream home smack in the middle of next year’s big flood.

South Carolina’s been hit two years running with disasterous flooding, and that’s a new experience for us.  You know what else is a new experience for us?  All these people who live here now.  Development is crazy.  Our metro areas are bursting with new neighborhoods.  There are billboards on the interstate begging people to apply for essential jobs in the types of infrastructure industries that keep civilization rolling.

The two situations are certainly linked.  Development in the flood plain leads to flooded developments.  Development outside the flood plain increases the likelihood of flooding in the drainage areas, because concrete just doesn’t hold water the way a stand of pine trees and scrub oak will.

Now South Carolina is a terrible place to live, and anyone who is thinking of moving to the South should definitely go straight to Atlanta or Raleigh-Durham and leave the rest of us alone — but in theory I’m not opposed to a bustling economy.  But the hotter our economy, the more careful we have to be about wet- and damp-land development.

File:South Carolina flood response 151007-Z-VD276-030.jpg

Aerial photo of South Carolina flood damage while a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the South Carolina Army National Guard’s 2-238th General Support Aviation Battalion Detachment 1, conducts a sandbagging mission to Columbia, S.C., Oct. 7, 2015.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Megan Floyd/Released) Via Wikimedia [Public Domain].

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