Progress made in environmental protection over the last 30 yr is jeopardized by ill-conceived legislative proposals that purport to protect property rights. These proposals target governance of wetland development under the Clean Water Act, and the 1973 Endangered Species Act. Bills submitted to Congress in 1995 stated that any regulation that diminished the full developmental value of property in order to protect species could only be implemented if the public paid for that diminution, even if the extent was very small. The legal framework of compensation laws and their potential to undermine some foundations of environmental protections is discussed.

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