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Re:E-M:/ Michigan Wetlands Decline



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Enviro-Mich message from "Rob Perks"<rperks@PEER.ORG>
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The earlier posting regarding the abandonment of Section 404 enforcement by the
Corps of Engineers was first profiled by PEER (see "PEEReview" newsletter,
Summer '98).  Citizens in Michigan interested in finding out more about this
issue are encouraged to contact PEER.

[202-265-PEER or info@peer.org]


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Subject:    E-M:/ Michigan Wetlands Decline 
Author: <Murphwild1@aol.com>
Date:       10/28/98 4:00 AM

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Enviro-Mich message from Murphwild1@aol.com
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, until recently, served as the field
enforcement and investigative agency for policing compliance with Section 404 of
the Clean Wate Act, which giverns the discharge of dredge or fill materials into
the waters of Michigan and across the nation.

Without any formal announcement-in fact, in a concerted effort to keep the
change from being committed to writing, the Corps is abandoning enforcement of
Section 404. In interagency briefings to state regulatory staffs, Corps
officials are spreading the word that enforcement is now their lowest priority
and , for all practical purposes has become a thing of the past. 

Throughout the country, the reamining enforcement units within Corps district
regulatory programs are being disbanded or collapsed into permit programs. This
silent retrenchment leaves an environmental void - the EPA has only a tiny
(20-30 people nationwide) wetlands enforcement program and almost no states have
enforcement presence or jurisdiction.

Without a Corps enforcement presence, Section 404 - the principle wetlands
statutory protection - becomes a dead letter. What this means is that:

* Uncontrolled destruction or development of wetlands will no longer be
sanctioned.

 * the Corps will continue to spit out thousands of permits authorizing the
"legal" destruction of wetlands. (in many districts the permit denial rate is
below 1%).

 * conditions placed on permits, such as mitigation, limits on wetlands fill and
requirements that there be compensatory wetlands creation, restoration or
preservation, will not be enforced.



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