A nice regional piece about the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Clean Water Act's 40th anniversary. I still think it's weird that the Corps handles permitting rather than the EPA. Their metrics are based on permits, not acres per goal of "no net loss." I don't doubt that the Corps does a lot to make sure permits minimize impacts to wetlands/streams, but with only 3% of permits denied, it makes you wonder whether the bar is set very high. I have a lot of empathy for Corps regulators - being squeezed in the middle of economic development interests, environmental interests, political pressure... and I'm fairly certain the pay doesn't make up for the stress. The article discusses the 'balance' needed in wetland permitting.
Still, this quote doesn't sound good:
“It’s not a conservation program, it’s a permit program,” said Walker [Tom Walker, chief of the district’s regulatory branch]. “The intent is not to stop things; the intent is to make sure they are done in a responsible manner.”