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Environmental Offset Policies, Principles, and Methods: A Review of Selected Legislative Frameworks

By Bruce McKenney
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Environmental offsets seek to ensure that unavoidable adverse environmental impacts of
development are counterbalanced by environmental gains, with the overall aim of
achieving a net neutral or beneficial outcome. In line with sustainable development,
offsets represent one important tool for maintaining or enhancing environmental values in
situations where social and economic development is sought despite detrimental
environmental impacts. Offsets are generally intended as an option for addressing
residual environmental impacts of development, after efforts have been undertaken to
avoid and minimize impacts.