Summary: H.R.1330 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.1330. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/28/1995)

Comprehensive Wetlands Conservation and Management Act of 1995 - Amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to prohibit, unless such activity is undertaken pursuant to a permit issued by the Secretary of the Army: (1) the discharge of dredged or fill material into U.S. waters, including wetlands at a specific disposal site; or (2) the draining, channelization, or excavation of wetlands.

Requires the Secretary, upon receiving permit applications, to: (1) classify as Type A wetlands that are of critical significance to the long-term conservation of the aquatic environment and meet other specified requirements; (2) classify as Type B wetlands wetlands that provide habitat for a significant population of wildlife or provide other significant wetlands functions; and (3) classify as Type C wetlands wetlands that serve marginal functions but exist in such abundance that regulation of activities is not necessary to conserve wetlands functions or are lands that do not serve significant wetlands functions.

Authorizes persons with ownership interests in property to request the Secretary to make determinations as to whether the property contains U.S. waters or is a wetland. Subjects such determinations to judicial review.

Directs the Federal Government to compensate a property owner whose use of the property has been limited by an agency action under this Act that diminishes the fair market value of the property by at least 20 percent. Requires the compensation to equal the diminution in value resulting from such action. Directs the Federal Government, at the owner's option, to buy the portion of property for fair market value if the diminution in value is greater than 50 percent.

Prohibits compensation with respect to agency actions: (1) the primary purpose of which is to prevent a public health or safety hazard or damage to specific property other than the property whose use is limited; or (2) pursuant to the Federal navigation servitude except as such servitude applies to wetlands.

Sets forth procedures for owners seeking compensation and notice requirements for agencies taking actions to limit the use of private property.

Applies compensation provisions only to surface interests or water rights, with specified exceptions for oil, gas, or mineral interests beneath or adjacent to Type A or B wetlands.

Requires the Secretary to determine whether to issue a permit for an activity in Type A wetlands based on a sequential analysis that seeks to avoid or minimize adverse actions on wetlands and compensate for losses of functions that cannot be avoided or minimized. Authorizes mitigation requirements when appropriate to prevent loss or degradation of Type A wetlands.

Permits the Secretary to issue a permit for activities in Type B wetlands if the issuance of the permit is in the public interest, balancing the foreseeable benefits and detriments resulting from the permit. Imposes requirements for mitigation when such activities result in permanent wetland loss or degradation.

Directs the Secretary to issue regulations for the establishment and oversight of mitigation banks for wetlands.

Requires the Secretary, at the option of the permit applicant, to issue permits authorizing activities in Type A and B wetlands in States with substantial conserved wetlands areas subject to the following requirements. Permits the Secretary to include conditions for minimization of adverse impacts when economically practicable. Prohibits any requirements for mitigation to compensate for adverse impacts in such permits.

Directs the Secretary, upon application by owners of economic base lands in a State with substantial conserved wetlands, to issue individual and general permits for activities in waters or wetlands. Reduces requirements to allow such lands to be beneficially used to sustain economic activity and to reflect the social and economic needs of Alaska Natives to utilize such lands.

Exempts specified activities from this Act's requirements.

Prohibits more than 20 percent of any county, parish, or borough from being classified as Type A wetlands.

Requires wetlands located on agricultural lands and associated non-agricultural lands to be delineated by the Secretary of Agriculture in accordance with the Food Security Act of 1985. Exempts from the requirements of this Act agricultural lands that are exempt from the requirements of the Food Security Act of 1985.

Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to undertake a project to identify and classify U.S. wetlands.

Directs the Secretary to establish procedures pursuant to which: (1) landowners may appeal determinations of regulatory jurisdiction over a parcel of property, wetlands classifications with respect to property, or determinations that an activity does not qualify under a general permit; (2) any person may appeal a determination that a proposed activity is not exempt (non-exempt activities require permits); (3) permit applicants may appeal determinations to deny issuance of a permit or to impose a requirement under the permit; and (4) landowners or others required to restore or alter property may appeal an order to do so. Provides that persons who have filed appeals shall not be required to pay penalties or perform mitigation or restoration until the appeal has been decided.

Authorizes civil actions and prescribes penalties for permit violations.

Authorizes States to administer permit programs for activities covered by this Act, subject to the Secretary's approval.

Deems specified activities associated with cranberry production operations to be in compliance with provisions regarding effluent limitations, subject to certain conditions.

Directs the Secretary, in implementing responsibilities under the regulatory program, to balance the objective of conserving functioning wetlands with the objectives of ensuring continued economic growth, providing essential infrastructure, maintaining strong State and local tax bases, and protecting against the diminishment and value of private property. Requires the Secretary and the heads of Federal agencies to seek to minimize the effects of the regulatory program on the use and value of private property.

Directs the Secretary to develop procedures for facilitating actions necessary to respond to emergency conditions under this Act which may involve loss of life or property damage.

Provides that no U.S. waters or wetlands shall be subject to this Act based solely on the fact that migratory birds use or could use the waters or wetlands.

Provides for reevaluation of determinations of regulatory jurisdiction or permit conditions imposed before this Act's enactment upon the request of a permit holder. Authorizes modification or suspension of permits, as appropriate. Bars compensation to persons as a result of such reevaluation and continues activities in Type A wetlands without permit modification.