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Title: Comprehensive Wetlands Conservation and Management Act
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that authorizes $2.3 billion a year for fiscal years 1996 through 2000 for Clean Water Act programs, gives States more control, increases consideration of economic impacts of water quality standards, relaxes some pollution control components of the Clean Water Act, and establishes new criteria for defining wetlands.
- Reauthorizes and amends the Clean Water Act through FY2000.
- Extends authorization for grants that fund assessment reports, nonpoint source management programs, and "groundwater protection programs" through FY2000.
- Reduces the authorizations for grants to States and localities for pollution prevention research, investigations, training and information activities from $50 million to $21.24 million per year.
- Requires the Government to compensate property owners if EPA actions diminish the fair market value of property 20 percent or more.
- Establishes a classification system for wetlands, which is used to determine the regulations required to be met in order to receive a permit for activities in the wetland area.
- Stipulates that no water quality standard be established if there is "no reasonable relationship between the cost and anticipated benefits of attaining such standard."
- Establishes a Great Lakes Research Council to advise and promote coordination of Great Lakes research.
- Requires a permit issued by the Secretary of the Army for the discharge of dredge or fill material in U. S. waters, including wetlands at a specific disposal site; and the draining, channelization or excavation of wetlands.
- Authorizes the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct and promote comprehensive programs of basic water pollution research and make grants to local governments for carrying out water pollution prevention research, investigations, training and information programs.
- Revises provisions regarding mine water pollution control to require the Administrator of the EPA to establish a program that allows States or Indian tribes to apply for grants in order to carry out a project that decreases the causes and of effects of acidic or other toxic mine drainage in an area where the water quality has been effected by past coal mining activity.
- Increases the maximum amount of Federal assistance a State can receive for "groundwater quality protection" from $150,000 to $500,000.
- Provides that a State that has not received Federal approval for a State's core coastal management program will have 30 months from the date of approval of such program to submit a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Program.
- Allows the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of the EPA to grant conditional approval of a State's program when the State requests additional time to complete the development of its program.