Developments in Wetland Protection under the Clean Water Act

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Discussion of the trends in wetlands delineation and protection under the Clean Water Act.

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Developments in Wetland Protection under the Clean Water Act

  1. 1. Developments in Wetland Protection under the Clean Water Act Mark Ostendorf
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>The Clean Water Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Section 404 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigation Banking </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Important Court Cases </li></ul><ul><li>Current Developments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean Water Restoration Act (Bill) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wetlands Conservation Investment Act (Bill) </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Defining a Wetland <ul><li>Properties of a Wetland </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hydrology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hydric Soils </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adapted Vegetation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Areas saturated or inundated by water with relative frequency and duration and is able to support adapted vegetation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marshes, swamps, bogs, fens… </li></ul></ul>
  4. 6. Function of Wetlands <ul><li>Prevent Erosion </li></ul><ul><li>Slow Flooding </li></ul><ul><li>Filter Sediment and Pollution </li></ul><ul><li>Diverse Habitat </li></ul>
  5. 7. The Environmental Movement <ul><li>Silent Spring —Rachel Carson (1962) </li></ul><ul><li>By the 1970’s, the public had become increasingly aware of its affect on the environment </li></ul><ul><li>Passage of several environmental regulations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean Air Act of 1970 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Endangered Species Act of 1973 </li></ul></ul>
  6. 8. CWA Legislation <ul><li>Federal Water Pollution Control Amendments of 1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Clean Water Act of 1977 </li></ul><ul><li>Water Quality Act of 1987 </li></ul>
  7. 9. Clean Water Act of 1972 <ul><li>Original objectives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elimination of pollution discharges </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protection of wildlife for recreation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control of Toxic Pollution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish waste treatment facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In General </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulate discharges into “navigable waters of the United States” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 10. Establishing CWA “Waters” <ul><li>Defense Council (NRDC) v. Calloway 1975 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ navigable waters” could actually incorporate navigable waters, their tributaries, and wetlands </li></ul></ul><ul><li>United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes 1985 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CWA covers waters adjacent to US waters </li></ul></ul>
  9. 11. Section 404 of CWA <ul><li>“Dredge and Fill” Permit </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discharge of dredge and fill material into waters of the U.S. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Administrating agencies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>U.S. COE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>EPA </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. Section 404 Permitting <ul><li>A Feasible Alternative is Not Available </li></ul><ul><li>Nation’s Waters Not Significantly Degraded </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid wetland impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize potential impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compensate for unavoidable impacts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigation Banking </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 13. Emerging Market Solution <ul><li>Wetlands dredged or filled under Section 404 require compensation for unavoidable impacts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigating wetlands somewhere onsite or nearby </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mitigation Banking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Compensating for removed wetlands offsite with a crediting system </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Mitigation Banking <ul><li>Result of “No Net Loss” policies under Bush, Sr., administration </li></ul><ul><li>Bank - restore, create, enhance or preserve wetlands to offset development elsewhere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Also maintain wetland quality </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Credits are purchased by developers </li></ul><ul><li>Consolidation of smaller wetlands into larger wetlands </li></ul>
  13. 15. Mitigation Banking <ul><li>Advantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Development no longer required onsite </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost to the individual developer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Credits can be purchased BEFORE development </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Disadvantages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Failure Rate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loss of biodiversity in smaller wetlands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Size and Distribution are both important </li></ul></ul>
  14. 17. Recent Court Cases <ul><li>Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County (SWANCC) v. COE 2001 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Migratory Bird Rule overturned </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CWA does not cover isolated waters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rapanos v. COE 2006 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CWA does not cover waters with temporary water flow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CWA does not cover waters without a direct connection to US waters </li></ul></ul>
  15. 18. Impact <ul><li>Fewer Waters Covered by CWA and Section 404 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some Wetlands are not navigable or directly connected to other water bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fewer wetlands requiring mitigation </li></ul>
  16. 19. Reaction <ul><li>Introduction of bills addressing wetlands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean Water Restoration Act </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wetlands Conservation Investment Act </li></ul></ul>
  17. 20. Responses in Congress <ul><li>Clean Water Restoration Act of 2009 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced in the Senate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sent to committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meant to restore CWA to its state prior to SWANCC and Rapanos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intent: To clearly define “waters of the U.S.” </li></ul></ul>
  18. 21. Key Provisions <ul><li>The term “Navigable” would be stricken from the CWA </li></ul><ul><li>To return the authority lost after the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Further Defining “Waters of the U.S.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All interstate waters and all intrastrate waters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exemptions from previous CWA unchanged </li></ul>
  19. 22. Mitigation Banking <ul><li>Wetlands Conservation Investment Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Introduced in House and Senate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>September and December 2009 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sent to Committee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To incorporate wetland mitigation credits into Internal Revenue Code. </li></ul></ul>
  20. 23. Provisions <ul><li>Adds capital gain or loss treatment of the sale or exchange of mitigation credits earned by restoring wetlands </li></ul><ul><li>Amends Income Tax Code </li></ul>
  21. 24. Conclusions <ul><li>Clean Water Restoration Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Opponents: State and local rights, property rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partisan disagreement </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wetlands Conservation Investment Act </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Subject to less attention and disagreement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bipartisan support for mitigation banking in the past </li></ul></ul>
  22. 25. Conclusions <ul><li>Legislation Clarifying Wetland Regulation is needed </li></ul><ul><li>Direction depends on passage of bills </li></ul>
  23. 26. The End
  24. 27. Selected References <ul><li>Bosselman, F. (Summer 2009). Swamp swaps: the &quot;second nature&quot; of wetlands. Environmental Law. 39:577. Retrieved Feb. 10, 2010 from Lexis-Nexis Academic Database </li></ul><ul><li>Clean Water Restoration Act (Apr. 2, 2009). 111th Congress, 1st Sessions.787 </li></ul><ul><li>Natural Resources Defense Council v. Calloway (1975). Washington D.C. District Court. 392 F. Supp. 685. </li></ul><ul><li>Rapanos, J.A. et al. v. United States Army Corps of Engineers, et al. (2006). Supreme Court of the United States. 547 U.S. 715. </li></ul><ul><li>Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. United States Army Corps of Engineers (2001). Supreme Court of the United States. 531 U.S. 159 </li></ul><ul><li>Stavins, R. (Jan. 27, 2010). Unintended Consequences of Government Policies: The Depletion of America’s Wetlands. Science and Technology News Forum. Ethiopian Review . Retrieved Feb. 10 from http://www.ethiopianreview.com/scitech/33286. </li></ul><ul><li>United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, Inc. 474 U.S. 121 (1985) </li></ul><ul><li>Wetlands Conservation Investment Act (2009). 111th Congress, 1st Sessions. H.R. 3609 and S. 2876. </li></ul>

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