HTML _ 96-35 - Agricultural Wetlands: Current Programs and Legislative Proposals
4-Jan-1996; Jeffrey Zinn, Claudia Copeland; 12 p.

Abstract: Amending Federal laws to protect wetlands, especially agricultural wetlands, is a contentious issue for the 104th Congress. Critics contend that current programs are excessive in their reach and unfairly restrict private landowners. Supporters counter that these programs are critical if the Nation is to achieve the stated goal of no-net-loss of wetlands. The two major statutes under which agricultural wetlands are protected are swampbuster, enacted in the Agriculture, Food, Trade, and Conservation Act of 1985, and section 404, enacted in the 1972 Clean Water Act. This debate has been contentious, in part because of a lack of information and understanding about these programs and how they work, and different perceptions of what might happen to the wetland protection effort if one or both of these laws is amended. This report describes both programs, emphasizing how they relate to each other. It explains how each program works, especially on agricultural wetlands, and the likely effect of proposed revisions to swampbuster. Also, it briefly considers other legislative proposals that would amend the section 404 program, which, if enacted, would further affect how agricultural wetlands are protected. [read report]

Topics: Wetlands

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