Monday, June 4, 2012

If it's Florida and it's wetlands, there will be drama.

Nation's best wetlands journalist (Craig Pittman), still on the beat in Florida.  The state wetlands regulatory lead is suspended for failing to issue a permit for a wetland bank. This is a real shame -- Connie Bersok is a great wetlands advocate.  But after 150 years of Florida making money off of selling wet land that was promised to be dry, isn't it rich to see someone trying to make money off of selling dry land that is promised to be wet?

Check out Craig's excellent book on Florida wetland history and policy here.

UPDATE:  A Florida reader sent in the following links to news articles on the bank, and notes that Connie Bersok has been reinstated.  
 Public documents related to the Highlands Ranch bank draft proposal can be accessed here.

As someone who's been a mitigation regulator, I have to say that almost without exception, wetland bankers want strong and competent regulators at the helm, regulators who can police the industry and crack down on bad actors (while being held to rigorous action timelines themselves).  Without that, faith in their product deteriorates, and their production process becomes unpredictable -- both fatal to any going concern.  Bankers are much more aware of this than most private industries.  Donnybrooks like this help no one but bad-faith permittees.

Also, as long as we're in Florida, I might as well flog Michael Grunwald's book for understanding the deep background.


  1. You might share the glory with Grunwald and some very good folks over at the Times-Picayune, but we were big fans of your regulatory focus at EPA HQ! Thanks for all your great work!