The Bush administration has finalized rules for wetlands development that encourage developers to restore or create new wetlands when old ones are destroyed, sometimes far from the original site. While it sounds innocent enough on its face, opponents of the controversial approach say that natural streams and wetlands are more complex than simply wet places, and they’re difficult to re-create effectively. “Under this plan, streams and wetlands that are permanently buried or filled by developers and polluters can suddenly be compensated by creating new streams and wetlands somewhere else,” said Joan Mulhern of Earthjustice. “Just because the agencies say so does not mean it is possible to actually create a stream or wetland.” The new rules are expected to make it more difficult to force developers to improve onsite wetlands, and they’re also likely to make the process of developing wetlands less expensive.