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Abstract

In this paper we review the evolution of the wetlands credit sales program developed to support the federal wetlands permit program. Then, we explain how the regulatory rules governing the overall permit program, as well as specific rules governing credit sales, have prevented the development of robust markets in credit buying and selling. Based on this review, we identify an alternative institutional structure that would apply marketlike principles to expand the quantity of and lower the prices of credits while ensuring that wetlands credit sales help move the nation toward its goal: no net loss of wetlands acres and functions.

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