We mailed the following signed letter on the relationship of land use to
remedy selection, with sign-ons, to decision-makers at U.S. EPA and
Cal-EPA on Friday, September 26. Since CAREER/PRO does not engage in
direct legislative advocacy, it will be up to others to send copies of
the letter directly of members of Congress or state legislatures.
Furthermore, since we don't know which state agencies are addressing
these issues administratively, we could use help figuring out how to
distribute the letter to hazardous waste policy offices in other states.
LAND USE AND REMEDY SELECTION: THE SIGNED LETTER
September 26, 1997
Dear Environmental Policy-Maker:
We are writing to draw to your attention a significant issue in the
development of risk management strategies for hazardous waste cleanup:
the relationship of cleanup standards to anticipated future land use.
Remedies based upon institutional land use controls often curtail local
planning prerogatives simply to benefit responsible parties. They fail
to recognize that land use policies in many areas are likely to change
over the life of the contamination. Furthermore, controls - even when
they are reinforced by legal instruments that "run with the land" -
provide uncertain or temporary protection for public health and the
environment. Nevertheless, remedies are increasingly being linked to the
future use of the contaminated property.
We believe that it is both possible and imperative to build safeguards
into the decision-making process, both to recognize that land use
planning generally is and should remain a local prerogative and to
ensure that the local community is prepared to enforce whatever controls
are necessary. Specifically, we recommend:
* The appropriate regulatory agency(ies) shall not approve any remedy or
response that incorporates or requires institutional controls on future
land use - that is, which restrict otherwise acceptable uses of the
property - without FULL PUBLIC REVIEW (notice and hearings) and approval
by the applicable local land use planning authority. Any such process
should be designed to involve directly site neighbors and others
directly affected by the resulting decisions.
* Where, through a formal finding of technical impracticability, it is
found that the property cannot be cleaned to the level desired by the
community, the local jurisdiction still should be directly involved in
the determination of institutional controls, for which in the long run
it may bear the responsibility of enforcement.
* Review and approval by the local land use planning authority should
not diminish the ability of the general community and community working
groups or advisory boards to oversee the remedy selection process. This
includes the provision of advice regarding the adoption of land use or
other controls necessary for remedies to be effective.
* In addition, local predominance in land use planning does not and
should not override the roles of public trust agencies and natural
resource trustees to protect the land and other natural resources for
which they have responsibility.
* While the level of public involvement in the cleanup decision-making
process often diminishes once remedies are selected, it is essential to
maintain continuing channels for public oversight wherever those
remedies require long-term institutional controls or active operation
* In addition, mechanisms to assure the effectiveness of institutional
controls are essential.
We believe that this approach will increase the likelihood that land use
controls will be both appropriate and effective. Anything less passes
the economic, health, and natural resource cost of the contamination to
the site's neighbors, the community in general, and to future
Co-chair of the King Salmon Air Force Station RAB
King Salmon, AK
Public Trust Legal Project
Los Angeles, CA
Vernon J. Brechin,
Mountain View, CA
Director, SFSU CAREER/PRO
San Francisco, CA
PM Strauss & Associates
San Francisco, CA
Presidio Restoration Advisory Board
San Francisco, CA
Anne W. Callison
Otis Conversion Project, Cape Cod
Impact area review team member
Theodore J. Henry
University of Maryland at Baltimore
AuSable Manistee Action Council
Global Resource Action Center for the Environment
New York, NY
Susan L. Gawarecki, Ph.D., P.G.
Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee, Inc.
Oak Ridge, TN
Gerald Pollet J.D.
Heart of America Northwest
Citizens For Safe Water Around Badger
Sauk County 20th District Supervisor
Lenny Siegel Director, SFSU CAREER/PRO (and Pacific Studies Center) c/o PSC, 222B View St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545Fax: 650/968-1126 firstname.lastname@example.org
Effective August 2, 1997, "415" area code numbers for the area south of San Francisco, including Mountain View, have changed to "650." However,"415" may be used until February 1, 1998.