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College of Law

Florida State University


2006 Press Releases

The Environmental Law Institute issued a press release on JB Ruhl's article, "The Effects of Wetland Mitigation Banking on People," published in their National Wetlands Newsletter

Mar 01, 2006

Two legal experts have determined that wetland mitigation banking redistributes wetland resources from urban areas to rural ones, leaving city dwellers with fewer important environmental services such as water filtration, erosion protection, and flood control.

In their article “The Effects of Wetland Mitigation Banking on People,” published by the National Wetlands Newsletter, J. B. Ruhl and James Salzman assert that the wetland mitigation banking industry has a systematic, pervasive environmental downside: mitigation banking shifts environmental services away from urban areas and to rural communities.

The article documents the first comprehensive empirical study of demographic changes prompted by wetland mitigation banking, a rapidly growing industry in the United States.

Eliminating net loss of wetlands nationwide has been a policy priority for the United States for more than a decade. Mitigation banking seeks to achieve this goal by providing developers who damage or destroy wetlands with opportunities to buy off-site wetlands as compensation. Federal policy encourages agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Highway Administration to use mitigation banking to compensate for wetland impacts.

Mitigation banking has been controversial since the inception of the banking industry roughly 10 years ago. Critics say that banks do not adequately replace wetland values and functions, while advocates say that banking is far more successful than any other means of compensating for wetland losses.

J. B. Ruhl is the Matthew and Hawkins Professor of Property at the Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee, Florida. James Salzman is a professor at the Duke University School of Law and the Nicholas School of the Environment.

The National Wetlands Newsletter, the nation’s only wetland law, policy, and science journal, is published by the Environmental Law Institute. For more information, please contact editor Gwen Arnold at 202-939-3819 or

March 2006