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December 2004

Brownfields Job Training Grants: Turning the Problem Into the Solution
 
Environmental
Brownfields Job Training Grants: Turning the Problem Into the Solution

The U.S. EPA has figured out that to tackle environmental cleanup and remediation of brownfield sites in economically depressed areas, they can turn what is perceived to be the problem into the solution. They have started a national program that gives grant money to nonprofit environmental remediation programs around the…Read more

Communities Cope with Administrative Cost Prohibitions
 
Environmental
Communities Cope with Administrative Cost Prohibitions

The administrative cost prohibition on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brownfield grants came about in January 2002, when President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act. The law set forth many helpful points for the EPA’s brownfield program, such as expanding the definition of brownfields,…Read more

 
Environmental
Observations on Brownfields: Complications and Considerations

The eight-part documentary series Brownfields: Reclaiming Our Urban Environment took more than two years to be produced. It was recently completed and shown before a national audience at the Brownfields 2004 Conference. While I was making the series, I traveled with the film crew from Wild Hare Productions to film once-polluted…Read more


 
Environmental
State Brownfield Programs that Work

State brownfield financing programs are becoming more common as well as more diverse, as the public sector and the private market acknowledge and act on both the responsibilities and the opportunities given to states in the federal Brownfield Revitalization Act. Since that law took effect in January 2002, many different…Read more

 
Environmental
Supreme Court Hears Environmental Case

On October 6, 2004, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Aviall Services, Inc., No. 02-1192. The case involves the interpretation of §113(f) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and will decide whether private parties conducting voluntary cleanups may bring…Read more

 
Environmental
This Just in from Capitol Hill

As the 108th Congress moved toward its October 8 adjournment for the November elections, it continued to act on matters of importance to the brownfield community. At the end of the session: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved $165 million for EPA’s brownfield program, slightly lower than the amount already approved…Read more

 
Environmental
Understanding Underwriting

Much has been written, in Brownfield News and many other publications, about the various types, uses and values of environmental insurance in the context of surplus or abandoned property dispositions, remediation and redevelopment. In order to get the most from any expenditure for environmental insurance, brownfielders should understand the insurance underwriting…Read more


 
Industrial Redevelopment
Industry Watch

NEW RESOURCES Key to Community Revitalization Report The National Association of Local Government Environmental Professionals (NALGEP) and the Northeast-Midwest Institute have released a new report, "Unlocking Brownfields: Keys to Community Revitalization." This report includes more than 50 profiles of successful brownfield projects and programs, five critical brownfield messages that document…Read more

 
Industrial Redevelopment
The Starbucks Factor

Vince Michael, chair of the Historic Preservation Department at the School of the Art Institute, had long pointed to the Starbucks in the Printers Row neighborhood as proof that the neighborhood had “arrived.” Printer’s Row, a Chicago neighborhood immediately south of Chicago’s downtown Loop, had been abandoned by the printing…Read more

 
Point/Counterpoint
All Appropriate Inquiry Will Bring Integrity

EPA’s proposed AAI rule, once adopted, will bring integrity to the “due diligence” process. Mr. Kaiser’s article noted many issues. Some merit clarification and comment. When final, the AAI rule will supersede ASTM E-1527, a commonly used guide for conducting environmental site assessments (ESAs). Congress and the AAI Committee recognized…Read more

 
Point/Counterpoint
Due Diligence Update: The Inside Scoop on the All Appropriate Inquiry Rule

The hottest topic on the brownfield circuit is undoubtedly the proposed “all appropriate inquiries” standard. Most brownfield gatherings this year include an all appropriate inquiries panel, and sessions at the national Brownfields 2004 conference in St. Louis were standing room only (I know because I had to go get more…Read more


 
Point/Counterpoint
EPA’s Proposed Due Diligence Means Higher Costs and Longer Lead Times

EPA’s attempt at developing new regulations to satisfy the “all appropriate inquiry” (AAI) standard under CERCLA, as amended by the recent Brownfields law, has resulted in a proposed rule that will significantly increase the cost and timeframe for completing environmental due diligence. Unfortunately, EPA considerably understates the increase in these…Read more

 
Point/Counterpoint
If It Ain’t Broke, Why Are We Fixing It?

As Mr. Kaiser stated, there are few topics on the brownfield landscape that are attracting as much interest as the “all appropriate inquiries” rule. It remains to be seen, however, whether the proposed rule will be a help or a hindrance to the redevelopment of environmentally distressed properties. I was…Read more

 
Regional Report
Alabama - Regional Task Force

The Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham (Alabama) has formed a Brownfield Regional Redevelopment Task Force to redevelop brownfields within a seven county region of north central Alabama. Formalized in February, 2004, the task force represents a partnership of institutional, municipal, public service and business sector entities. Member-ship and active…Read more

 
Regional Report
Arkansas - Developing in Dixie: A Survey

The American Cultural Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That quote could apply to brownfield developers everywhere. Dedicated, hard-working people reaching out to community leaders, public officials, private developers and regulators to remediate,…Read more


 
Regional Report
California - Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004: A Landmark Shift for Brownfields

Taking a significant step toward fulfilling one of his campaign promises for the environment to rapidly address California’s brownfields, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently signed legislation to promote the redevelopment of brownfields. On September 23, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California Land Reuse and Revitalization Act of 2004 (AB 389, Montañez,…Read more

 
Regional Report
California - Polanco Act in Action

Enacted to assist redevelopment agencies in responding to brownfield properties, California’s Polanco Redevelopment Act prescribes processes to follow when cleaning up a hazardous substance release in a redevelopment project. It also provides certain immunities from liability for redevelopment agencies, subsequent property purchasers and investors. The future home of a Krikorian…Read more

 
Regional Report
Canadian Report

N BA Canada Launches Ontario Chapter The N BA has expanded internationally to form the Ontario Chapter under the newly established N BA Canada. The Ontario Chapter will promote the responsible redevelopment of brownfields in the province by creating best practices, commenting on policy, legislation and regulatory change, disseminating information…Read more

 
Regional Report
Connecticut - Georgetown Approvals

Late last year Brownfield News reported on the innovative design charrette held for the 55-acre former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Now, less than a year later, the project has received Master Plan approval from the Town of Redding for a 416-unit village, including townhouses, single-family homes,…Read more


 
Regional Report
Hawaii - Hawaii Brownfields Get Grants

The U.S. EPA awarded four organizations in Hawaii nearly $1 million to address brownfields on Oahu and Kauai — $796,334 for brownfield redevelopment and $196,877 for a brownfield job training program. The brownfield redevelopment grants went to the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism ($400,000), the County of…Read more

 
Regional Report
Illinois - Chicago Amphitheater Gets a Fresh Start

The site where the laundry facility now sits on has a colorful history. ARAMARK’s largest and most sophisticated laundry facility recently opened on a redeveloped brownfield where the Chicago International Amphitheater once stood.…Read more

 
Regional Report
Illinois - Taking Back the Mississippi Riverfront

In 1999, citizens of a small Miss-issippi River city looked at a riverfront redevelopment concept and asked themselves, “Why should we?” In the 1990s, East Moline, Illinois was a Mississippi River town without a public waterfront. In a flat manufacturing economy they found themselves landlocked from the river by the…Read more

 
Regional Report
Massachusetts - Solving Complex Liability Issues Enables Projects

In his article “Leveling the Playing Field for Brownfields: An Owner’s Perspective” (Volume 8, Issue 2), Chris Olson of Atlantic Richfield argues that until incentives are in place to encourage and reward responsible companies for revitalizing underutilized and environmentally-challenged properties, brownfield redevelopment will continue to evolve slowly. In response, I…Read more


 
Regional Report
Michigan - $9.3 Million in Grants Awarded

Approximately $9.3 million in Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Brownfield Redevelopment Grants, along with $4.9 million in loans, will be awarded to 23 communities throughout Michigan. The grant projects will be funded from six different brownfield funding programs, including the Clean Michigan Initiative and the Environmental Protection Bond. Grants awarded…Read more

 
Regional Report
New Jersey - HDSRF Program Supports Brownfield Efforts

There is coordinated action to clean up an estimated 10,000 brownfield sites across New Jersey. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) supports the state’s efforts by offering a variety of financing tools. The most popular of these tools continues to be the state’s Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund (HDSRF),…Read more

 
Regional Report
New Jersey - Tools for a Second Generation of Brownfield Sites

At the start of my tenure as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), New Jersey recognized the need to take brownfield reform to a new level. Initial efforts to encourage brownfield redevelopment simply were inadequate to deal with a “second generation” of brownfield sites — sites with more…Read more

 
Regional Report
New York - Soil Vapor Intrusion: A Volatile Issue

In simple terms: If you put a building over contaminated soil or groundwater and the contaminants are volatile (i.e., tend to form a vapor or a gas), indoor air contamination can occur — especially if part of the structure (e.g., a basement or crawl space) is underground and vapors can…Read more


 
Regional Report
Ohio - UECA and Ohio’s House Bill 516

In June 2004, a bill was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives that, if successfully passed, will integrate many of the beneficial concepts of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws’ Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (UECA) into Ohio law. Ohio’s Uniform Environmental Covenants Act would establish “environmental…Read more

 
Regional Report
Pennsylvania - Budget Shortfall Looms

Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund, which helps to finance brownfield remediation, responses to toxic emergencies and the cleanup of contaminated sites, is heading toward a $12 million deficit. These estimates are for a program that operates on $50 million to $60 million a year. Because of this shortfall, emergency response…Read more

 
Regional Report
Pennsylvania - Developing the Nation’s Largest Brownfield

One of the largest private brownfield sites in the nation is the former Bethlehem Steel plant that winds along the Lehigh River in eastern Pennsylvania. The entire site represents 20 percent of the City of Bethlehem’s land mass. In late May of 2004, Lehigh Valley Industrial Park, Inc. (LVIP), a…Read more

 
Regional Report
South Carolina - Technology Update

Residents of Spartanburg County attend a planning meeting. The IBM - Neighborhood America Public Comment® Service was recently launched in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, to support the ReGenesis Environmental Justice Partnership, which is leading the planning efforts for redeveloping the county’s brownfield sites.…Read more


 
Regional Report
Utah - Green Light for Superfund Site

The cleanup of the entire 180-acre Midvale Slag site will take approximately two years. …Read more

 
Regional Report
Washington - Revised Rules Proposed

The Washington state Department of Ecology (Ecology) has invited public comment, through December 31, on proposed changes to a regulation governing the types of financial assistance available to local governments to clean up toxic sites. Ecology is revising the regulation because recent amendments to the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA)…Read more


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