The Clean Water Act allows use of compensatory mitigation to replace the benefits of lost wetlands and streams. A new Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions working paper summarizes North Carolina's use of preservation for compensatory mitigation by private mitigation banks and a state-operated in-lieu fee (ILF) program. Under current rules, preservation is only used in coordination with other types of mitigation action like restoration or enhancement, and it can only be counted in credits if it is for wetlands or streams at risk of loss. According to the paper, North Carolina's ILF program and mitigation banks have continued to use preservation at relatively low rates for both wetland and stream mitigation since 2008. 
Robert Bonnie, a Nicholas School of the Environment alumnus and former Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, returned to Duke, April 3, as a Rubenstein Fellow to address issues related to climate change and natural resource conservation in rural America. Bonnie is the fifth expert to join Duke's Rubenstein Fellows Academy, which brings leaders with deep expertise in issues of global importance to campus for in-depth engagement with students and faculty. Bonnie will work with Nicholas Institute students, staff, and faculty to develop strategies to tackle conservation challenges for rural America-strategies that rely on collaboration and incentives to address environmental issues while providing economic opportunity. 
A new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Nicholas Institute explores the value, use, and limitations of economic modeling of the electricity sector. The report presents a suite of recent analyses by multiple organizations that show how economic modeling can be used to simulate possible policy, market, and technology changes as the electricity sector transforms due to environmental regulations, increased use of domestic natural gas for electric generation, and the rapid progress of renewable technologies. A guide for state policy makers, the report sheds light on how to best utilize economic models and interpret their results as well as explores key modeling structures often deployed to model carbon regulations such as the Clean Power Plan and to input assumptions that affect power sector modeling results.
A Survey of Landowner Attitudes and Conservation Practitioner Networks about Ecosystems Services in the GCPO
May 4, Webinar
Canadian Ecosystem Services Toolkit
May 25, Webinar

Achieving Shared Environmental Goals
The Duke University Chapel recently hosted a public conversation on how disciplines can work together to achieve shared environmental goals in politically challenging times. Among the panelists addressing how philosophical or religious beliefs help guide their work was the Nicholas Institute's Brian Murray, who noted that cleaner energy is not always cheaper energy and that millions face energy poverty. "When I look at this as a moral issue," he said, "I think how do we help people live what they would regard as purposeful lives and do so in a way that doesn't put us on a pathway to extreme climate risk." 
Associated Press, A Look at How Trump's Moves on Coal Will Affect the Industry
New York Times, Guess Who's for a Carbon Tax Now
Southeast Energy News, Duke University Eyes Biogas, Not Fossil Fuels, for New Power Plant
WalletHub, Is There an Inherent Trade-off between Protecting the Environment and Promoting Economic Growth?

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