MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Senate has signed off on a bill that would prevent builders who are altering a particular wetland from making use of so-called wetland-mitigation credits created by work in other places.
Under current law, the Department of Natural Resources must require developers to take steps to restore, enhance, create or preserve wetlands when it issues an individual permit allowing wetlands to be dredged or filled. Builders can satisfy those conditions by purchasing credits from what’s known as a mitigation bank anywhere. Banks are essentially a stash of credits generated by other builders who themselves have created or preserved wetlands.
Under the proposed new law, builders who are altering a particular wetland could meet those requirements only by buying credits created in the same watershed. But even with the new rule in place, the DNR could still allow purchases from other watersheds if they found those purchases would better serve their natural-resource goals.
The Senate approved the measure on a voice vote on Tuesday. It goes next to the Assembly.