Bills to Watch: Wetland Mitigation, Plastic Bags, Pesticides


Wetland Mitigation

The Department of Natural Resources allows a development to dredge or fill a wetland as long as the development compensates for the action in one of three ways: by purchasing credits from a mitigation bank located in this state, by participating in the in-lieu-of-fee subprogram or by completing mitigation within the same watershed or within one-half mile of the site of the discharge. This bill would clarify the first method, requiring the credits to be purchased from the same region as the disruption. For example, a development in Milwaukee could no longer purchase credits that had been generated in Bayfield. This is intended to keep the benefits of wetlands within the same area where they are being dredged or filled. The bill is in the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.


Allowing municipalities to ban plastic bags

Current law prohibits counties and municipalities from regulating “auxiliary containers,” or bags, cups and bottles designed to be reusable or for single use. This bill would allow municipalities to regulate these containers, which would allow them to ban single-use plastic bags, among other restrictions. The bill is in the Committee on Local Government.


Allowing municipalities to regulate pesticides

Current law prohibits municipalities from enacting ordinances prohibiting pesticides, with certain exceptions. This bill would lift the prohibition and allow local municipalities to regulate pesticides, with the aim of curbing the loss of biodiversity. The bill is circulating for co-sponsorship until May 6.