|From:||"Peter B. Meyer" <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Wed, 28 Apr 1999 12:44:40 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||Re: Question re: Revolving Loan Fund and small business assistance strategies for brownfield reuse|
Responding to several recent queries, let me offer the following: 1. On number of brownfields cleaned - one could add up the number cleaned unde the various states' voluntary cleanup programs (VCPs), many of which report on this activity on line. (It's an economic development publicity element to be able to show this!) However, the evidence we've seen suggests tht this is (a) the tip of the iceberg in terms of number of sites actually cleaned, with many not in the VCPs, (b) the VCPs may, themselves, permit reuse with minimal cleanup (since they are economic development programs), so you could overcount using their data, (c) a given VCP project could involve several different brownfield sites, further compounding the statistics. Therefore, I conclude that no good answer is available that you could count on. 2. On small "mom and pop" brownfield cleanups - this is an incredibly important topic, since it is locals, not national/international development actors, who will do something for the small scattered brownfields in cities- if anyone will. (Most of the sites are probably under half an acre in size, given what they were...) But there is little support for the small operator, and I have come across horror stories about their problems with access to capital. Some of those stories appear in the study released by HUD called "The Impact of Environmental Hazards and Regulations on Urban Redevelopment," although the full report has limited value. EPA's Urban and Economic Development Division commissioned The E.P. Systems Group, Inc., to prepare a sourcebook for small developers seeking brownfields financing in 1997, still not released, that might be useful if they would share a copy (it was accessible through the library of <smartgrowth.org> for a while, but I think it was pulled pending publication) ... the last title we had on the volume was "Financing Small-Scale Urban Redevelopment Projects: A Sourcebook for Borrowers Reusing Environmentally Suspect Sites." 3. On why the Brownfield Cleanup Revolving Loan Funds (RLFs) have not made loans yet (a topic that goes beyond the mom-pop developer issue), it's a great question I - as a partner in the Louisville RLF - can't fully answer. Based on some other work I'm involved in and my experience here, I am not convinced it is simply a lack of borrowers or even ultimate lender unwillingness to fund post-remediation development or business operations ... there are new fears about municipal liability that have not been fully addressed yet, and some RLFs may be trying to get insurance coverage for their perceived new risks. Not really encouraging, but, I hope, informative. Peter --- Peter B. Meyer Professor of Economics and Urban Policy Director, Center for Environmental Management and EPA Region IV Environmental Finance Center University of Louisville 426 W. Bloom Street / Louisville, KY 40208 (502) 852-8032 Fax: (502) 852-4558
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