1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Emery Graham <egraham@dca.net>
Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 11:05:15 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Municipal Liability

Brownfield to NPL Site - Need for Caution

     Has anyone considered the process of implementing the
brownfield assessment process; the searching of the
     historical record, deed and title searches, reviewing old
maps. The primary outcome from this process is the
     discovery of likely candidates for more indepth
assessment and site testing for the presence of hazardous
materials that the historical research suggested might exist.
Another, in action, process that leads to using brownfield
     assessment funds is the site development process that
accompanies economic and housing development projects.
     In this case investors call for "due diligence" actions
inorder to reduce their potential liabilities and protect
     investments. In both of these instances the newly
participating municipality usually has not taken the
structural and legal
     precautions needed to protect the workers and the
financial interests of the taxpayers. In the final analysis if
     municipality does something that triggers a major lawsuit
or exposes a major hazardous waste liability, most likely
     the reserve accounts will not be able to finance the
costs of a major problem. This typically will be addressed by
     insurance and/or capital funds. In any event the "good
faith and credit" of the municipality, which is based on its
     ability to impose taxes on its citizens, is the fall back
source of financing.

     I suspect that some municipalities have addressed this
problem already and I'd like to hear from anyone who can
     speak from experience. I hope no municipality is taken by
surprise in these matters.

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