The Impact of No Net Loss of Wetlands on Water Power Development Alternatives

by Susan Tomasky, Van Ness Feldman & Curtis, Washington, United States,
Noreen Tama Bellegarde, Van Ness Feldman & Curtis, Washington, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Waterpower '91: A New View of Hydro Resources


Federal commitment to wetlands protection is increasing. The Bush Administration has embraced an as yet undefined goal of 'no net loss of wetlands' and various Federal agencies with jurisdiction over wetlands regulation have used this Presidential commitment as a license to strengthen federal regulatory controls over activities that occur in or affect wetlands. Although 'no net loss' has not been given a workable definition, it is clear that this goal calls for more stringent Federal regulation than mandated by current programs. For example, in response to the Administration's apparent commitment, some regulators have already begun to modify existing policies that have allowed the use of various means of compensation to offset impacts on wetlands. Perhaps most importantly, the growing public debate over the 'no net loss' policy and the various associated Federal administrative actions have provoked a public concern with the current Federal regulatory program and the Section 404 program. This concern has found its way to the halls of Congress, where a wide variety of bills are being debated. This paper examines the recent trend in Federal policy to greater protection of wetlands and the potential effects of this the development of water projects affecting the nation's wetland discusses the prospects for legislative reform of the Section 404 process.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Wetlands (fresh water) | Public policy | Water resources | Jurisdiction | Licensure and certification | Terminology and definition | Public opinions

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