State Senate passes new wetland protocols

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MADISON (AP) — The Wisconsin State Senate has approved a bill that would loosen restrictions on wetland development.

The Republican measure makes sweeping changes to the state's wetland construction regulations. One of the most contentious is a requirement that developers include mitigation plans in permit applications.

Conservationists fear state environmental regulators will feel pressure to accept the mitigation plans rather than insist developers avoid or minimize damage. Republicans counter the bill balances the environment and business.

Debate began Tuesday afternoon, but minority Democrats used a procedural move to delay a vote until the body's next floor session. Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Juneau Republican, was so incensed he forced the body to return at 12:01 Wednesday morning.

The Senate ultimately passed the measure 17-15.