FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: February 15, 2012
Wisconsin Wetlands Association Statement on Passage of SB 368
Today is a sad day for wetlands in Wisconsin. Our strong tradition of allowing economic development while also maintaining a strong commitment to protecting wetlands has just been overturned by the Senate. Once revered nationwide for our high standards, our policies are sinking to the level of so many other states where thousands of acres of wetlands are legally destroyed each year and mitigation rarely lives up to its promise. Only time will tell whether this law, once enacted, will lead to the run on wetlands we fear. The new framework, emphasizing wetland mitigation over avoidance and minimization of wetland impacts, certainly allows it. To those who applaud this bill as an economic engine for the state of Wisconsin we remind you that wetlands contribute billions in free services to Wisconsin’s economy every year. They protect us from floods, support our fish and wildlife, clean our water, and preserve the outdoor heritage Wisconsin residents hold so dear. If this law is enacted, we will no longer be able to count on the state to protect our wetlands. Our focus moving forward will be to work with local communities, and others, to help them capitalize on the economic benefits of protecting and restoring wetlands. For better or worse, wetland protection will now be in the hands of the people.