ELPO Law Attorneys Published in American Bar Association’s Environmental Law Resource Book

by Mandy Hicks

Three ELPO Law Environmental Law attorneys have been published in a resource book for the American Bar Association. LaJuana S. Wilcher, Sarah P. Jarboe, and Joye Beth Spinks wrote the 22nd chapter of the Fifth Edition of the Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions: Acquisition, Development, and Liability Management resource book. This book was co-authored as an updated guide to the issues, problems, and pitfalls that can arise when real estate, business, and environmental law intersect. The book serves as a resource for lawyers conducting real estate and commercial transactions to inform them about environmental law issues to consider when doing real estate transactions.

Specifically, Wilcher, Jarboe, and Spinks wrote Chapter 22: Wetlands Considerations in Real Estate Transactions. An often overlooked aspect of real estate transactions is the potential need to obtain a permit under section 404 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA) before engaging in activities such as land clearing, earth moving, or beginning construction. Before entering into a real estate transaction, all parties should try to determine whether jurisdictional wetlands are present on the property and, if so, the time frame and costs for obtaining necessary permits to use or develop the property. Delays and costs associated with obtaining a section 404 permit can be considerable and should be evaluated when agreeing on the terms and price for real estate.

How wetlands affect an individual or company seeking to purchase and/or develop a piece of property is currently an issue of great interest in environmental law as the law changed in 2020 and could very well change again in the near future with the incoming administration.

The complete over 700 page version of Environmental Aspects of Real Estate and Commercial Transactions: Acquisition, Development, and Liability Management, Fifth Edition is available for purchase on the American Bar Association website here. The full book was co-authored along with Wilcher, Jarboe, and Spinks by a team of accomplished real estate, environmental, tax, land use, and business lawyers and technical experts, in private practice, corporations, government, and law schools.

About LaJuana S. Wilcher
LaJuana S. Wilcher is a partner at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP. Ms. Wilcher was nominated by President George H.W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 1989 as EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water. As the senior manager for EPA’s water programs nationwide, she was the decision official for several seminal Clean Water Act section 404 policy decisions and section 404 permit vetoes. She was a partner at Winston & Strawn (1993–1996) and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae (1996–2002) before becoming secretary of Kentucky’s Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (2003–2006). She advises landowners throughout the country on section 404 issues and other aspects of environmental law. Ms. Wilcher has testified about wetland issues before Congress, and has presented on wetlands issues nationally and internationally. Ms. Wilcher is currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Federal Agriculture Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac). To learn more about LaJuana S. Wilcher, click here.

About Sarah P. Jarboe
Sarah P. Jarboe is a partner at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP, where she practices environmental law and civil litigation. She represents clients on environmental matters, including Clean Water Act section 404, NPDES permitting, the Clean Air Act, Superfund, and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. Her practice includes environmental litigation, permitting, regulatory interpretation, enforcement, and negotiations with federal and state agencies. Ms. Jarboe was one of 12 attorneys nationwide selected to participate in the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ (SEER’s) Leadership Development Program (2014–2015). She served on SEER’s 2016, 2017, and 2020 Fall Conference Planning Committees. Ms. Jarboe graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School, where she was managing editor of the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Journal. Before joining ELPO, she served as a law clerk for Kentucky’s Supreme Court Chief Justice. To learn more about Sarah P. Jarboe, click here.

About Joye Beth Spinks
Joye Beth Spinks is an associate at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP, concentrating in the areas of environmental law and civil litigation. She graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2019. As a law student, Ms. Spinks worked as a legal intern in the Massachusetts Legislature for the chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Prior to attending law school, she taught biology and environmental science to high school students in rural Kentucky. To learn more about Joye Beth Spinks, click here. 

About English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP
English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley LLP (ELPO Law), based in Bowling Green, KY, is the largest law firm in south central Kentucky. ELPO Law offers business clients and individuals the experience and depth of a large firm and the personal commitment and attention of a small one. For more than 40 years, the firm has worked with clients to develop creative solutions to difficult legal and business problems working extensively with established international and national businesses, regional companies, family-owned businesses, utilities, start-ups and entrepreneurs. Alongside its business practice, ELPO Law also represents individuals in a wide variety of personal matters including people who have been seriously injured in accidents, need assistance with divorce or custody, or those who need help with estate planning or probate.