In a letter sent to John Jaschke, Executive Director of the Board of Water and Soil Resources, a coalition of wetland bank account owners have joined together with the Wetland Credit Agency to express concern over publicly owned wetland banks competing with private bank account owners. The letter, drafted by the Wetland Credit Agency with input from a number of account owners, addresses two main concerns with public entities competing directly with privately owned banks.
The first concern expressed is the unfair competitive advantage public entities possess. The letter states that while private bankers invest a significant amount of time and money on their projects, public entities obtain land with public dollars or at no cost at all, pay no property taxes, and use public dollars to establish and maintain their banks. This creates an unfair competitive environment allowing public banks to sell credits at below market value.
The second concern expressed is aimed specifically at the conflict of interest inherent in the Aitkin County bank project mentioned in our post dated February 11th. The letter states that, as Aitkin County is thier own LGU, they will have the ability to authorize their own plan applications and deposits. In addition, as they will often be the first to be notified when a new impact is proposed, they could pressure a credit buyer to purchase credits from their own bank. Even if they do not influence a buyer, that buyer could feel they stand a better chance of obtaining approval if they were to purchase their credits from the same entity that has the authority to approve or deny their project.
Please voice your opinion on this below.
The letter can be viewed here.