FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2017
CONTACT: Rep. Jim Steineke
Public Input Pushes Wetland Reform Forward
MADISON – State Representative Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), along with many Wisconsin residents, testified in favor of Assembly Bill 547 at a joint public hearing with the Assembly Committee on Regulatory Licensing Reform and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. At its core, this legislation would streamline the permitting process for wetlands in Wisconsin.
“Today’s public hearing was a great step forward for this incredibly necessary legislation,” said Rep. Steineke. “From a homeowner trying to make an addition to his home to a local business owner who is ready to expand, Wisconsinites can be assured that needless red tape won’t inhibit their growth.”
While AB 547 will help development, the bill authors are confident that it will also benefit the environment. Isolated wetlands will still be required to be mitigated on a 1.2:1 ratio, resulting in more high-quality wetlands throughout the state. The bill also requires the Wisconsin DNR to use money acquired through the state’s popular in-lieu fee program – a program that allows permit holders to pay a fee for mitigation rather than mitigating wetlands on their own – within a two year period; the DNR currently has $15 million in this fund that is yet to be used.
“Stories from around the state point to the same thing – that people in Wisconsin are tired of regulations that are time-consuming, expensive, and ultimately unnecessary,” Rep. Steineke continued. “I look forward to moving this bill through the legislative process and seeing it voted on on the Assembly floor.”
The bill now awaits a committee vote before heading to the Assembly Floor.