A state lawmaker wants to streamline the permitting process for construction projects that impact wetland areas.
State Representative Jeff Mursau (R-Crivitz) says the current process for approving those projects just takes too long and many businesses have ended up having to cancel plans because of it.
Under the current rules, he says working through wetland issues can drag out for years. Mursau says that time frame is too much for some businesses to deal with and it needs to be shortened to provide more certainty for developments that will bring new jobs to the state.
The Crivitz Republican and state Senator Neal Kedzie (R-Elkhorn) have introduced a bill that would create a 30-day timeline for approving projects. For general permits, the project would be approved unless the DNR raises concerns. For individual permits, which impact rare and imperiled wetlands, agency approval would be needed. Mursau says the two designations give the DNR more flexibility.
Environmental groups are raising concerns about the proposal. Anne Sayers with the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters says developers would no longer need to look for alternative sites and it removes protections on more sensitive areas. She says the bill “ultimately threatens our wetlands.”
The bill is scheduled for a hearing at the Capitol today.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:09)