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The Latest: Assembly OKs wetland permit exemptions bill

February 16, 2018

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a bill that would allow developers to fill state wetlands without a permit (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

The state Assembly has passed a Republican bill that would allow developers to fill state wetlands without a permit.

The chamber passed the measure 58-39 Thursday. The state Senate is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday.

Under the bill, builders could fill wetlands within a half-mile of a municipality or an area with a sewer system without a Department of Natural Resources permit. Developers wouldn’t have to mitigate urban wetland losses of less than 10,000 square feet.

Builders also could fill up to three acres of rural wetlands without a permit if the development is related to an agricultural structure. Mitigation within a 20-mile radius would be required if the project results in the loss of more than 1.5 acres.

A host of environmental groups have registered in opposition, saying the bill would lead to the loss of wildlife habitat and exacerbate flooding.

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7:45 p.m.

The state Assembly is debating a Republican bill that would allow developers to fill state wetlands without a permit.

Debate began about 6 p.m. Thursday. It was unclear when members would vote but the GOP controls the chamber, making passage a certainty. Approval will send the bill to the Senate.

Under the bill, builders could fill wetlands within a half-mile of a municipality or an area with a sewer system without a Department of Natural Resources permit. Developers wouldn’t have to mitigate urban wetland losses of less than 10,000 square feet.

Builders also could fill up to three acres of rural wetlands without a permit if the development is related to an agricultural structure. Mitigation within a 20-mile radius would be required if the project results in the loss of more than 1.5 acres.

Assembly Democrats argued Thursday the bill would result in the loss of wildlife habitat and exacerbate flooding. Republicans countered the current permit process is too slow, hampering business expansion.

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8:05 a.m.

The state Assembly is preparing to pass a Republican bill that would allow developers to fill state wetlands without a permit.

Under the bill, builders could fill wetlands within a half-mile of a municipality or an area with a sewer system without a Department of Natural Resources permit. Developers wouldn’t have to mitigate urban wetland losses of less than 10,000 square feet.

Builders also could fill up to three acres of rural wetlands without a permit if the development is related to an agricultural structure. Mitigation within a 20-mile radius would be required if the project results in the loss of more than 1.5 acres.

The Assembly is set to take up the measure during what’s shaping up to be a contentious floor session Thursday.

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