Ted Stevens ‘Rule’

Many Alaskans who are familiar with the Clean Water Act, wetland conservation, and mitigation banking efforts also have heard of the Ted Stevens Rule, which is the common reference for the “Alaska Wetlands Conservation Bill” introduced by late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens.

The gist of the argument was as follows: Since Alaska has many more wetlands than most states in the lower 48 and stringent adherence to mitigation guidelines could cause a financial hardship for the state, mitigation should not be a requirement until more wetlands were impacted first.

Congressman Stevens introduced the bill in 1997, which sought to amend the federal Clean Water Act. The bill was read twice in Congress but it failed to move forward in 1999.

Mitigation Banking: The Gold Standard 

Over the past 13 years since Stevens introduced the bill, wetland and stream conservation efforts have matured. In 2008, the United States Army Corps of Engineers issued the Final Rule, seeking to resolve the uneven and varied approach to wetland and stream conservation and restoration that resulted in some districts losing more wetlands than others. In 2010, the preference for mitigation banking was strengthened, and mitigation banking emerged as the Gold Standard for offsetting unavoidable impacts to wetlands and streams.

A Sustainable Solution

Mitigation banking has been shown to support business efforts to move forward with their projects more efficiently and cost-effectively, by helping streamline developers’ permitting process. Banks also are considered a highly effective means of conserving and restoring precious wetlands and streams.

Mitigation banking’s further expansion in the great state of Alaska will continue to enhance the state’s economic growth while preserving its precious natural resources and habitat.

For more information about banking in Alaska, contact Mitigation Solutions USA.