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Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Market-Based Mitigation Programs

We recently submitted comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its market-based mitigation programs. Our comments were based in part on the recommendations Policy Integrity’s Legal Director, Jason Schwartz, made to the Administrative Conference of the United States on marketable permits, which were adopted in late December.

FWS called for comments on whether to retain or remove the goal of “net conservation gain” within its mitigation policies as adopted in 2016. Our comments highlight the important role of a net conservation goal in facilitating the successful use of market-based mitigation programs like conservation banks and in-lieu fees. We note that while the rationales given in 2016 for FWS’s net conservation goal may be sufficient bases for preserving that goal, the aspiration to facilitate the continued use of market-based mitigation approaches provides an independent and powerful justification for the net conservation goal.