Description: Wetlands protection efforts have been a major concern for agricultural interests since Congress enacted so-called swampbuster provisions in the 1985 Food Security Act. Under these provisions, all producers who alter wetlands risk losing certain farm program benefits. Determining which sites are wetlands and enforcement of penalties remain contentious issues. Controversy has been heightened by confusion over how this program is related to the principal Federal regulatory program to protect wetlands, section 404 of the Clean Water Act, and how wetland determinations affect land values and private property rights. Because the 103rd Congress did not reauthorize the Clean Water Act, some of the wetland issues raised in that debate might be raised in the farm bill. Another wetland protection program, the Wetland Reserve (WRP), was enacted in the 1990 farm bill. This program, which pays farmers to place wetlands under long-term or permanent easements, has been far less controversial. This paper reviews the swampbuster and WRP, as well as controversies surrounding delineation of wetlands and relationships between private property rights and wetland protection efforts.
Date: December 19, 1994
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
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