RS assists in National Survey of Mitigation Bankers

1102231_approved_mark_5.1.normal.jpg

The indispensible Ecosystem Marketplace published a second story in a week involving RS.  (Here is the first). This one is a lot drier, but also filled with consequence for and insight into the emerging markets for compensatory mitigation and ecosystem services (a term for another blog).

When I get a chance, I will blog some about the background of the survey, it’s conclusions, and the propects for its continuation.  But, for now, I just wanted to share the link below, and recognize Ecosystem Marketplace for their coverage of these important issues as they develop.

The Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace

Mitigation Bankers Say New Rule Heightens Old Conflicts: Survey

by Todd BenDor, J. Adam Riggsbee, and George Howard

About the Survey

This article has been adapted from the Executive Summary of A National Survey of Federal Mitigation Regulations and their Impacts on Wetland and Stream Banking. You can download the full report, including the executive summary, above.

It’s been more than a year since the United States enacted uniform procedures for
offsetting lost wetlands across the country, but market participants say “The Rule” has neither calmed the conflicts it was designed to eradicate nor driven business to mitigation banks. The reason, they say, is that regulators are as regionally inconsistent as ever.

20 November 2009 | When the US Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers released their long-awaited regulations for offsetting lost wetlands in March of last year, everyone seemed to agree that “the Rule” – as the regulations are collectively and colloquially known – would encourage the expansion of mitigation banking to provide compensatory mitigation for unavoidable impacts to the nation’s

wetlands.

Shark in the water: "Womble Carlyle launches niche firm to assist developers"

Hmmmm.  Large law firms in the mitigation banking business?  It’s a free country, and they probably will help the industry in some respects, but it makes me feel uncomfortable.  Assuming the firm would be doing permitting work for the client, as well as selling them wetland mitigation, I can foresee conflicts of interest.   It’s a little like a having a criminal lawyer also sell you a bail bond.  They are simultaneously defining the problem for you — and selling you a solution, one traditionally provided by other professionals.  I support the trend toward the professionalization of the mitigation industry and its’ practitioners, as opposed to folks in other fields “doing-it-on-the-side,” as they say.  How about this: We restore ecosystems and sell compensatory mitigation credit — you sell legal services.  Get it?

(That said, I know Bob Sokolove. He was in fact the first person to successfully explain mitigation banking to me in 1995, and I wish him well.)

WombleCarlyle

Friday, July 31, 2009

Womble Carlyle launches niche firm to assist developers, property owners

The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area – by Steve Ivey Staff writer

Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, the Triad’s largest law firm, has launched a new company aimed at helping developers and property owners generate revenue from land that would otherwise be unattractive or unsuitable for development.

Womble Carlyle Ecology Innovations LLC will work with clients to create or preserve wetlands and other environmentally protected areas. That ecologically sound property can be turned into a credit and sold to developers whose plans will destroy other wetlands.

The concept is known as wetlands mitigation banking. Federal regulations passed last year put greater requirements on developers to offset their environmental impact.

“Any developer, public or private, is going to have two choices,” said Bob Sokolove, a mitigation banking specialist Womble Carlyle hired to start the new company. “They can hire lawyers, engineers, hydrologists, biologists and contractors to build their own wetland — which can be time-consuming and risky — or they can buy credits from a site we have already established and be done with it.”

via Womble Carlyle launches niche firm to assist developers, property owners – The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area:.