Pacific Studies Center ( )
Thu, 08 May 1997 16:21:35 -0700 (PDT)

Here's another item that I'm posting to both the military and
brownfields forums. It's a proposal that I'm taking to a Cal-EPA
advisory group, but the concept would work in other states.

Lenny Siegel


I want to address two key problems with land-use based cleanups. First,
institutional controls are meaningless without a good enforcement mechanism.

Second, I don't think the decision to accept less than complete cleanup
in exchange for land-use restrictions is merely up to the regulators,
responsible parties, and property owner. The neighbors and local
government should have a say in any decision that locks in land use.
This is what we heard at the National Brownfields Dialogues. People in
the inner cities don't want decisions allowing inadequate cleanup to
perpetuate the presence of polluting industries in their neighborhoods.

I suggest, therefore, than any time an institutional control is
proposed as part of a cleanup remedy that there be a public
notification and comment procedure for both the neighbors and the land
use planning jurisdiction. There should be a specific identification of
proposals that make de facto land use decisions.

Second, I propose the creation of a statewide registry of institutional
controls, directly accessible by planners, utility companies, and the
public at large. This registry could be checked when utility work is
scheduled, when zoning changes or subdivision maps are proposed, or at
other times when community interest arises. It could also be used to
generate statewide data on cleanup practices.

Like the institutional controls themselves, the registry would be
funded as part of remedy operation and maintenance.

Implementing this seems simple for sites now undergoing remedy
selection. It would take a little more work to retroactively compile
data on existing institutional controls.