Legislature to pass bill allowing utilities to fill wetlands

The Wisconsin Legislature is set to adopt a bill that would loosen wetland restoration requirements for public utilities.

Current state law requires anyone looking to fill a wetland to obtain a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The agency must require the restoration, enhancement, creation or preservation of other wetlands as a permit condition.

The Republican bill would allow the DNR to exempt public utilities and power cooperatives from mitigation if the utilities and co-ops fill no more than 10,000 acres of wetlands.

Both the Senate and the Assembly were scheduled to vote on the bill Tuesday. If both houses approve the bill would go to Gov. Scott Walker for his signature.