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Shifting the Battlefield: Recent Changes in Federal Wetlands Policy

Environmental Protection

September 1, 2003

Authors: Joseph P. Williams

In a significant and far-reaching shift, federal wetlands regulators will now rely on functions rather than acreage replacement in evaluating compensatory mitigation proposals under the "no net loss of wetlands" policy. A second important change involves a proposal to limit federal authority over isolated, intrastate wetlands. In December 2002 and January 2003, in the span of a few weeks, the Bush adminstration issued guidance and a notice of proposed rulemaking on these issues. Joseph Williams summarizes their suggestions here.

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