Environmental mitigation

Environmental mitigation

Environmental mitigation, compensatory mitigation, or mitigation banking, are terms used primarily by the Unites States government and the related environmental industry to describe projects or programs intended to offset known impacts to an existing natural resource such as a stream, wetland, or endangered species. To "mitigate" means to make less harsh or hostile. Environmental mitigation is typically apart of an environmental crediting system established by governing bodies which involves allocating debits and credits. Debits occur in situations where a natural resource has been destroyed or severely impaired and credits are given in situations where a natural resource has been deemed to be improved or preserved. Therefore, when an entity such as a business or individual has a "debit" they are required to purchase a "credit". In some cases credits are bought from "mitigation banks" which are large mitigation projects established to provide credit to multiple parties in advance of development when such compensation cannot be achieved at the development site or is not seen as beneficial to the environment. Crediting systems can allow credit to be generated in different ways. For example in the United States, projects are valued based on what the intentions of the project are which may be to restore, create, enhance, or preserve a natural resource.

Advantages

Environmental mitigation and crediting systems are often praised for the following reasons:

Development friendly

Mitigation is a more development-friendly alternative to strict environmental laws because it allows development to occur where environmental laws might prohibit it.

Mitigation industry

Mitigation inevitably creates a "mitigation industry". By requiring those who impact natural resources to purchase credits, a demand for mitigation credit is formed. Businesses related to environmental work typically benefit from such a system.

Targeting ecological value

Assuming regulation assures that credit adequately reflects ecological value, mitigation has the potential to save and restore the most valuable environmental resources at the least cost. This is because buyers are typically looking for mitigation credits that are both cheap and the most likely to meet regulatory requirements for creation of credit.

Cost Burden

Mitigation systems place the environmental costs of development mostly on the individuals or entities that are impacting the environment. Without environmental mitigation, costs of alleviating environmental damage caused by development could be placed in the hands of the government which would in turn pass costs on to taxpayers not responsible for environmental impacts.

Benefit to Landowners

Land previously unused or impractical for development is given greater monetary value under a mitigation system. For instance, land in floodplains may be impractical for commercial or residential development but conductive for mitigation activities. Land in rural areas with very little potential for growth are more valuable when given the opportunity to be used for mitigation credits.

Disadvantages

The following are criticisms of environmental mitigation and crediting systems:

Incorrect allocation and valuation of credits and debits

Mitigation regulations may not properly take into account the total ecological losses and gains associated with environmental impacts or mitigation when allocating debts and credits. Governing bodies are primarily responsible for prescribing the ecological criteria required to attain credits for mitigation. They are also responsible for valuation of credit. Problems with the allocation and valuation of credits and debts might be due to the complexity of assessing the ecological value of natural resources, their capacity to change over time, and/or a lack of understanding about what is beneficial or harmful to the environment.Fact|date=July 2008

Effects on land cost and availability

Some mitigation work requires buying large amounts of land or putting it in conservation easements. Because of this, mitigation could be seen as contributing to increasing the cost of land. Mitigation can be in direct competition with other rural land uses such as agriculture and residential development.

Problems with pre-existing credit

Because mitigation credit can be applied to existing natural resources, landowners can be given credit to sell for resources that already exist and would have been preserved or naturally restored regardless of mitigation laws.

Undermining preservation efforts

Despite its goals of minimizing ecological loss, mitigation can be seen as a "loophole" that allows environmental destruction to continue. [ [http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/press_releases_folder/2008/08_01_2008_new_rules_lack_safeguards_for_imperiled_species.php New "recovery crediting system" could undermine federal actions to safeguard imperiled species] , Lazaroff, C., "Defenders of Wildlife", 08-01-08.] The lower the cost of credits are, the more cost effective it becomes for buyers to simply mitigate for environmental impacts rather than preserving them. Because ecological success of mitigation work is not guaranteed, there is a greater risk of net environmental loss through failed, ineffective mitigation work intended to compensate for existing functioning natural resources.Fact|date=July 2008

Notes

External links

* [http://www.epa.gov/wetlandsmitigation/ United States EPA Compensatory Mitigation website]

* [http://www.mitigationbanking.org/ National Mitigation Banking Association]
* [http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-17579.pdf/ Endangered Species and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Recovery Crediting Guidance]


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mitigation banking — is the restoration, creation, enhancement, or preservation of a wetland, stream, or habitat conservation area which offsets expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems. The goal is to replace the exact function and value of the specific …   Wikipedia

  • Mitigation — may refer to: mitigation of global warming in climate science environmental mitigation in public administration; also, in particular: Mitigation banking The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 disaster mitigation in emergency management; also, in… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental impact statement — This article refers to environmental impact statements under United States federal law. For worldwide perspective on environmental impact statements, see Environmental impact assessment. An environmental impact statement (EIS), under United… …   Wikipedia

  • Mitigation of global warming — involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. [ [http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/glossary/ar4 wg3.pdf IPCC Glossary Working Group III, p. 818] ] This is in distinction to… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental engineering — [cite book|author=Danny D. Reible|title=Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering |publisher=CRC Publishers|year=1998|id=ISBN 1 56670 047 7] [cite book |author=James R. Mihelcic, Martin T. Auer, and others |title=Fundamentals of Environmental… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental planning — is a field of study that since the 1970s has been sconcerned with a given society s collective stewardship over its resources that ultimately includes those of the entire planet. [p.1, Selman] The aims of environmental planning are to integrate… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental microbiology — is the study of the composition and physiology of microbial communities in the environment. The environment in this case means the soil, water, air and sediments covering the planet and can also include the animals and plants that inhabit these… …   Wikipedia

  • Environmental impact assessment — Environmental law …   Wikipedia

  • Mitigation of global warming in Australia — Main article: Climate change in Australia Mitigation of global warming involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. This is in distinction to adaptation to global… …   Wikipedia

  • Mitigation — la Mitigation (d après le mot latine mitigare) est utilisée dans le domaine du risque ou des études d impact et surtout dans les pays anglo saxons pour désigner des systèmes moyens et mesures d atténuation d effets, par exemple en matière de… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”