MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The authors of a GOP bill that would let developers build on state wetlands without a permit say the measure would reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and wouldn't result in any net loss of wetlands.
Sen. Roger Roth and Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke told the Senate natural resources committee and the Assembly's licensing reform committee during a packed joint public hearing Thursday that they've heard from constituents complaining about how difficult the Department of Natural Resources' permitting process is to navigate.
They also stressed that under the bill developers would still have to create new wetlands to replace ones they destroy just as they do now.
The legislature would eliminate the Department of Natural Resources' wetland development permit system. Builders would still have to abide by requirements that call for them to create 1.2 acres of new wetlands for every acre filled.
Conservationists and sportsmen say developing wetlands would leave communities open to flooding and destroy wildlife habitat.