Last May Governor Dayton issued an executive order instructing the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) to evaluate Minnesota’s wetland laws.
Any changes stemming from this evaluation have the potential to affect your wetland bank and how you do business, for better or for worse. This is part III of III of our review of what we believe are some of the more important “Discussion Issues” for your review and input here, especially since wetland bankers weren’t included as a stakeholder group.
Issue #1 on the BWSR Stakeholder Discussion Issues:
“De minimis Exemption”
Background: The de minimis exemption has often been targeted for change, but most attempts to simplify or clarify this exemption have made it more complicated and more convoluted. Actually, the exemption is not as bad as it’s often made out to be, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
On the Table: Discussion issues for this item include changes to exemption amounts (mostly increasing them), changes to zones where differing exemption amounts apply, and considering elimination of wetland type in determining exemption amounts. The bottom line is that the Governor’s executive order directed the agencies to “Evaluate and develop recommendations to improve current wetland protection, restoration, and mitigation provisions…”. Any increases to de minimis exemption amounts would be contradictory to the Governor’s direction. Plus let’s face it, expanded exemptions mean fewer opportunities for wetland bankers to sell credits and help WCA achieve its no-net-loss goal. How do you think the de minimis exemption could be modified to improve wetland protection and be simpler to interpret?
Now is the time to speak up to help ensure wetland banking remains a healthy and viable business in Minnesota. Because wetland bankers in Minnesota lack a single cohesive voice we urge you to contact BWSR directly, or give us your input by leaving a reply below. If we get enough feedback from you, we will draft a letter to BWSR summarizing your comments.
To review the Governor’s order and BWSR’s discussion issues click on this link:
To contact BWSR you can call or e-mail David Weirens:
David Weirens, Land and Water Section Manager
Comments are open below. We’d love to hear from account holders and consultants for their perspectives.