1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: "Peter B. Meyer" <pbmeye02@athena.louisville.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 1999 12:44:40 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
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 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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