1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 17:11:37 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] River Affront: L.A. River to Stop Federal Money for Industrial Proj

For the complete article go to:

Los Angeles Weekly
11/26/99 to 11/2/99
River Affront
L.A. River Try to Stop Federal Money for Industrial Project
By Howard Blume

Environmentalists have ratcheted up their confrontation with the city’s
highest-profile developer, requesting federal intervention in the fate of a
historic but polluted site near the L.A. River. The activists want the
47-acre parcel, called the Cornfields, used for a school and a park with a
lake. They view the site as integral to re-fashioning the L.A. River as a
community resource. Developer Ed Roski Jr. — fresh off of his triumph of
building the new downtown Staples Center arena — has other ideas: He wants
to build a complex of warehouses, a plan his surrogates portray as both
reasonable and viable for the fallow land.

What makes the project profitable for Roski is a pledge of $11.75 million
in federal assistance in the form of so-called Brownfields money. These
funds are targeted for the cleanup and development of contaminated urban
land, but they’ve also provided the legal foothold for this latest
challenge. Adversaries last week submitted a detailed letter of opposition
to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which awards
Brownfields money. In the letter, environmental attorneys portray the Roski
proposal as violating provisions of the federal Civil Rights Act, among
other laws.

The Roski plan represents de facto environmental racism because it unduly
burdens low-income and minority residents with an industrial expansion,
according to the opposition letter. The areas most affected would be
Chinatown and the nearby William Mead public-housing complex, whose
2,000-plus residents include a substantial number of Asian-Americans.
Mead’s residents council went on record last month opposing the Roski



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