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.)
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.”