1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Emery Graham <"egraham"@ci.wilmington.de.us>
Date: Wed, 19 May 1999 10:16:53 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: Definition, VCPs, and Brownfields

Potentially Responsible Parties would rather work in a regulatory environment
where the regulators acts of "discretion" are more accessible to the PRP's
influence. In cases where the EPA is the decision maker, the cost of
decisions are higher than when a local decision maker is involved. I
suggest that
the operating principle focus on the control of the regulatory decision makers

It is very interesting to observe the dialog that attempts to frame the
of the age old question of power and control. How many ways can one disguise a
situation? After all, the law says that the PRP is liable. The governmental
apparatus, the bureaucracy, must act to enforce the law. It is in this
stage that the PRP seems to find relief and the marginal socio-cultural groups
experience environmental justice's denial. Mr. Bartsch's article on
brownfields in
a European setting seems to provide a more detailed description of this denial
process. The article is available in another message on the CPEO listserv.


Charles Bartsch wrote:

> Another response...
>         In a few cases, the credibility of the state VCP makes it worth
> through; I have looked at a couple of site situations in Minnesota where
> the site owners ttok their sites through the state VIC program, because the
> state's sign off was viewed as an advantage when approaching financiers
> At 09:43 AM 5/17/99 -0700, you wrote:
> >Peter,
> >
> >I was looking through the recent discussion on definitions and these
> >paragraphs stuck out:
> >
> >
> >>      However, under the EPA brownfield definition we have read again
> >> today, the occurrence Peter Strauss describes is simply not possible,
> >> except for previously residential sites:
> >>     Q   -- why would any site go through a VCP if it did not have to?
> >>     A   -- when its "expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or
> >> PERCEIVED environmental                 contamination." (-- my emphasis.)
> >> Thus, what Peter S. described involves a definition of a brownfield very
> >> different from that used by EPA (and, increasingly, by the other related
> >> agencies, both state and federal.)
> >
> >My experience in California leads to a different answer to the question
> >you posed. I would say that owners of property that are contaminated are
> >motivated by easier and less burdensome regulatory oversight. In one
> >instance where I have been very involved, the owner of the property
> >(i.e., the Federal Gov't) has entered into a VCP not because of
> >development pressure but because it wants to avoid stricter regulation,
> >and avoid being cast into the CERCLA net.  In another instance, due to
> >litigation by a community group that alleged that developing a dirty
> >site would lead to contaminant migration, the private owner of the site
> >entered into a VCP which was less stringent than if it fell under
> >another jurisdiction.
> >
> >In the broad definition of brownfields (i.e., Abandoned,idled, or
> >under-used industrial and commercial facilities where
> >expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived
> >environmental contamination), one could say that these VCPs dealt with
> >"brownfields". However, in the first case, the motive was to avoid
> >stricter oversight - there were no plans for expansion or redevelopment.
> >In the latter case, the VCP was entered into before the term
> >"brownfields" had found its way into common lexicon. The VCP got the
> >developer out of a hole by avoiding cleanup requirements that the
> >community had requested.
> >
> >Peter Strauss
> >
> >
> >
> >

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