Jan 152015
 

Wetlands are usually coastal areas mostly covered by water that support plant and animal species adapted for life in saturated soils. These areas include swamps, marshes and bogs. In addition to providing wildlife habitat, wetlands help control flooding, filter pollutants from water and help absorb the energy of hurricanes coming ashore. Wetlands also provide essential spawning, feeding and nursery areas for three-fourths of the fish caught by our commercial fishing industry. When our Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, there were about 220 million wetland acres. Only about 100 million acres now remain. It is estimated that about 40,000 acres of coastal wetlands are disappearing each year. The coastal wetland areas located in our Atlantic and Gulf States are the most threatened by development and pollution. These fragile ecosystems are frequently damaged by offshore oil drilling operations and pollution deposited by rivers. Increasing land values are also encouraging development in, or near, these wetland areas.

Pending Legislation:

S.741 & H.R.2208 – North American Wetlands Conservation Extension Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current wetland conservation policy and wish to defeat H.R.2208

I support amending the North American Wetlands Conservation Act to extend through 2017 the authorization of appropriations for allocations to carry out approved wetlands conservation projects and wish to pass S.741 & H.R.2208

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

In response to the continuing loss of our wetlands resource, our government established a “no net loss” (NNL) policy which requires developers to replace wetland areas destroyed by their projects. The Corps of Engineers grants permits to fill wetland areas for applicants who wish to develop them. However, before a project is approved, developers must convince regulators they have done all they could to avoid filling-in or damaging wetland areas. In order to conform to the NNL policy, developers must also submit a plan to either restore former degraded wetland areas or create new ones. To help developers reduce construction delays, mitigation banking was created. Mitigation banking allows credits from the creation of new wetlands in one area to be sold to developers who want to fill-in natural wetlands in other areas. Mitigation banks broker the transaction of these wetland mitigation credits. However, many say these banks have not delivered the results which were required under the “no net loss” policy. Naturalists and environmentalists claim efforts to create new wetlands in unnatural areas usually do not succeed. They say developers sometimes mitigate unrealistic areas merely to sell credits to others intent on destroying natural wetlands. Often, these new areas do not support life or perform the functions of natural wetlands. They say wetlands mitigation allows natural wetlands to be replaced by these newly created but useless areas, and claim mitigation banking exacerbates this problem. Critics say developers who purchase ecologically-worthless credits rather than preserve natural wetland areas violate the No Net Loss policy and are greatly speeding the disappearance of our precious wetlands resource.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current wetlands mitigation banking policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill requiring the U.S. Corps of Engineers to ensure that permits given to damage or destroy natural wetlands are considered in compliance with the “no net loss” policy only if replacement restoration projects have been shown to provide similar functions and benefits as the natural wetlands destroyed

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

Coastal ecosystems are located on either saline or fresh bodies of water. Beaches, wetlands, watersheds and estuaries are all part of this ecosystem -as are dunes, reefs and coastal islands. Many of these areas have suffered immense damage from development, overfishing and most types of pollution. These ecosystems are the recipients of most non-point source pollutants such as runoff from farms, city streets and industry. There has been debate over whether the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) protects all American waterways or just our “navigable” waterways from environmental damage and pollution. Wetland protections provided by the CWA were erased in 2001 when our Supreme Court ruled the EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers had no jurisdiction over non-navigable waters. That controversial decision enables developers and farmers to drain, bulldoze, fill and destroy so-called “isolated” wetland areas. Many feel the Supreme Court erred in its interpretation of the Clean Water Act. They claim the legislative history of the Act clearly states the statute is meant to apply to all the waters of the United States.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current wetlands protection policy

I support amending the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to replace the term “navigable waters” that are subject to such Act with the term “waters of the United States,” defined to mean all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters, including lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, and natural ponds, all tributaries of any of such waters, and all impoundments of the foregoing, and wish to identify a legislator who will reintroduce S.787 – Clean Water Restoration Act (111th Congress 2009-2010)

 Posted by at 12:00 am