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Buying Sustainability in Real Estate

Buying Sustainability in Real Estate
January 27, 2022 by Phillip N. Coover, Partner
Illinois has an expansive (and expanding) wetlands conservation program. There is an increasing need for real estate developments to have facets of sustainability built into them, both due to increasing consumer and tenant demand for LEED certification, WELL certification, and a general desire for green development, and also due to local governmental and federal regulations, such as the Clean Water Act.  

I find the concept of land mitigation banks and “compensatory mitigation” to be a great solution for developers (or agricultural producers that want to utilize wetlands for agricultural reasons) that need to “buy” credits for infringing on some environmental conditions that cannot be avoided, by placing money into the hands of those who would use those funds for ecological and environmental conservation. According to the Army Corp of Engineer website, a permit applicant may obtain credits from a mitigation bank. A mitigation bank is a wetland, stream or other aquatic resource area that has been restored, established, enhanced, or preserved. This resource area is then set aside to compensate for future impacts to aquatic resources resulting from permitted activities.

This is also an opportunity for landowners with wetlands on their land that need to be restored or improved to enhance the wetland condition for compensation. There are land banks out there that are doing wonderful things to improve the environment and preserve wetlands, among other great projects. In this fashion, a developer that interferes with an existing environmental condition can proceed with their development, but also rest assured knowing that it has invested in environmental preservation in other locations.

This publication is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice. The reader should consult with legal counsel to determine how laws or decisions discussed herein apply to the reader's specific circumstances.

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