Reservoir as more brain drain

The CED has defended its dam plan largely on the basis of flow augmentation— during droughts, the impounded water would be released to augment low flows in the White River so that Indianapolis and its green suburbs won’t need to conserve as much. 

But what about the impact of the plan on the brain drain in Indiana? Politicians of all stripes have been falling all over themselves to create amenities for the “creative class” of young skilled workers who seek stimulating and dynamic urban environments according to author Richard Florida and others.

A recent letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star by Marc Lame, clinical professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, raised the issue of the brain drain in the context of the signal which the leadership of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management recently sent when a senior administrator refuted man’s role in climate change.

Professor Lame asked: “Just what are our young scholars supposed to think when they are asked to remain in a state whose leadership seems to propagate the idea that it is OK to be near the bottom on the environmental protection and education, and our top ranking is for meth labs, smoking, and obesity?”

Numerous groups have expressed strong concerns about the negative environmental impacts of this plan, most notably the Heart of the River coalition, Indiana Forest Alliance, Indiana Archaeology Council, and the Upper White River Watershed Alliance.  To review their statements, visit  These concerns were amplified by the public panel presentations of May 12th in a program in Chesterfield.

Professor Lame raises a valid point. If this destructive boondoggle is eventually approved, it would send yet another unmistakable message that high-quality, authentic environments don’t matter to policy-makers in Indiana.



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