1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Emery Graham <"egraham"@ci.wilmington.de.us>
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 15:00:49 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

I encourage Peter B. Meyer to open up the dialog,  "...by pointing
out that there are lots of contaminated sites that do not fit any legal
definition of a "hazardous waste site,".... One of the reasons I joined this
listserv was to encounter people who were capable of offering new and
alternative views. Peter seems to be one of those people. Diversion from
instrumental behavior and agency happens all the time; it's an important
tactic in the drama of reproducing the status quo. One of the natural
shortfalls of people new to power is not knowing the full range of their
capacity to enforce their will on others; to use their power legitimately.
Another shortcoming is not being aware of the historical discourse related
to their dilemma.

In acting locally those people who are newly in control of urban areas can,
through executive and legislative action, significantly impact and modify
the terms and ground of the game. Having won over $200 million in negotiated
Community Reinvestment Act settlement specific performance agreements in
less than five years, I'm very aware of the tactic needed to play and win re
corporations. More important, I'm aware of how to make the corporations like
the engagement and profit from their loss.

Being new to the brownfields arena I'd like to hear the range of explanation
that the definition question can yield. Go to it Peter.


Peter B. Meyer wrote:

> Emery Graham seems to feel the issue of what is a "brownfield" is
> irrelevant to the issue of commitment to do something about contaminated
> sites that threaten human health and the environment. In this I can
> agree completely. However, he seems to object to my trying to make some
> fine line distinctions, as though doing so implies that i do not care
> about particular contaminants. Here, I must disagree.
> First, if we fail to recognize what the people we talk with mean when
> they use a term, we cannot work with them - or even against them - as
> effectively as if we understand them. Thus the pattern of usage of the
> term "brownfields" is important.
> Second, if we don't want to "pay the private sector to clean up," but
> want to use existing legislation to try to get companies to actually pay
> for cleaning up costs they imposed on the rest of society and did not
> internalize, then we need to understand the tools available to us. Here,
> it is essential to understand that some legislation - and thus the
> regulations that flow from the laws - makes a distinction between
> different types of contaminants.
> Those of us who are careful about the distinction do not necessarily
> claim some contaminants are "less important" than others, but simply
> that different tools can be used to tackle different contamination
> problems.
> (I guess that I don't dare open up this discussion any more by pointing
> out that there are lots of contaminated sites that do not fit any legal
> definition of a "hazardous waste site," a term Emery offered as a
> definition of a brownfield.)
> Peter
> --
> Peter B. Meyer
> Professor of Economics and Urban Policy
> Director, Center for Environmental Management
>  and Environmental Finance Center
> University of Louisville
> 426 W. Bloom Street / Louisville, KY 40208
> (502) 852-8032    Fax: (502) 852-4558

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