Compromise wetland and stream mitigation bank credits bill passes House

February 2, 2021

A compromise bill dealing with wetland and stream mitigation bank credits has passed the House of Delegates and will now be taken up in the Senate.

HB 1983 (Bulova) is the result of a series 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 use such credits from a secondary service area, including minimum tree canopy requirements. The bill was strategically designed strike a balance between water quality and conservation interests and land development interests.

The House of Delegates passed HB 1983 on January 25 by a vote of 84-15-1.  HB 1983 will now be taken up in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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