Manufacturers, developers, and other businesses turn to Fern Paterson to navigate environmental compliance. She is a leader within the state and local environmental community. She serves on the council of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Environment, Energy & Natural Resources Law Section, as well as on the Mecklenburg County Air Quality Commission and on the board of the Carolinas Air Pollution Control Association (CAPCA).
Fern represents clients in environmental investigations, audits, and enforcement actions. She has significant experience negotiating with federal, state, and local authorities to resolve compliance disputes. She also advises on the environmental requirements and challenges associated with large capital projects and development of properties with environmental impacts. She has particular experience in Brownfields redevelopments and South Carolina’s Voluntary Cleanup Contract (VCC) Program. Fern also helps manufacturers track and navigate evolving regulations at the federal and state levels concerning environmental justice and climate change.
Fern has represented a wide variety of clients, including utility, renewable energy (solar, wind, biogas, and biomass), chemical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, wood products, waste management, real estate development, and other commercial and manufacturing clients. Fern also assists in professional negligence and product liability litigation, including litigation alleging personal injury. She is licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Prior to joining Parker Poe, Fern was a private environmental consultant focusing on technical air issues and, later, a chemical engineer for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality – Division of Air Quality (DAQ). While at DAQ, Fern drafted and negotiated permits for manufacturers and provided litigation support to the North Carolina Department of Justice. She also coordinated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the regulated industrial community, environmental groups, and individuals affected by various legal and technical issues. Fern is a licensed professional engineer (P.E.) in North Carolina.
Fern regularly speaks on environmental topics such as emerging issues in environmental law, air quality compliance, environmental audits, and endangered species consultations. She also maintains an active pro bono practice, helping indigent clients expunge criminal records and representing abused and neglected children through North Carolina's Guardian ad Litem program.
While at North Carolina Central University, Fern was a senior editor of the North Carolina Central Law Review.