A compromise bill dealing with wetland and stream mitigation bank credits reported out of committee on January 20 and will now head to the House floor.
HB 1983 (Bulova) was born out of a series of virtual workgroup meetings that featured developers, environmental organizations, and local governments. The bill proposes that when a water protection permit applicant is required to purchase wetland or stream mitigation bank credits, but no credits are available either (1) in any mitigation provider’s primary service area or (2) at a cost of less than 200% of the price of credits available from a fund dedicated to achieving no net loss of wetland acreage and functions, the applicant may purchase or use credits from a mitigation provider’s secondary service area. The bill provides certain requirements that the permit applicant must comply with in order to purchase or to use such credits from a secondary service area, including minimum tree canopy requirements. The bill was designed in a limited fashion as it seeks to strike a balance between water quality and conservation interests and land development interests.
HB 1983 was heard in the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, where it was favorably reported to the full House by a 16-6 vote. The House may begin its review of the bill by the end of this week.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.