Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Calls for Expansion of Market-Based Approaches to Funding Environmental Restoration Projects
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Calls for Expansion of Market-Based Approaches to Funding Environmental Restoration Projects

Washington, D.C. — Looking to successful mitigation of damage to U.S. wetlands as a model for future success in the protection of other natural areas, the Center for American Progress has released a report today detailing how clear and effective federal mitigation policies can attract private-sector investment in the conservation of America’s lands, waters, and wildlife while providing environmental and economic benefits.

To help scale up mitigation policy, the CAP report calls for expanding market-based approaches to natural resource restoration with a national ‘no net loss’ goal for wetlands, wildlife, and remaining natural areas. It also calls for the expansion of restoration funding sources through pilot projects designed to help agency professionals experiment with the efficacy of various mitigation tools; establish effective monitoring protocols for restoration projects; and gather feedback from developers, private investors, and the public on how to improve implementation.

“The federal government and developers alike will benefit from a regularized permitting approach that compensates for unavoidable project impacts on the environment,” said David J. Hayes, CAP Senior Fellow and co-author of the report. “Permitting agencies should build on the success of the wetlands program and invite private conservation banking firms to help ensure that infrastructure and other projects cause no net negative impacts on our landscapes.”

Market-based approaches to environmental mitigation have worked in the past. Notably, wetland mitigation as proscribed by the Clean Water Act of 1972 has helped stimulate $2.9 billion per year in private sector investment in the restoration and protection of wetlands. Under that program, private-sector investors and mitigation bankers can finance wetland restoration, then sell restoration credits to developers to offset damages caused by development with the overarching goal of there being no net loss of wetlands. The report examines the opportunity to expand mitigation and no-net-loss policies to other natural areas, wildlife, and sensitive ecosystems.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at[email protected] or 202.481.7141.