2005 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: "Robert Hersh" <b_hersh@verizon.net>
Date: 17 Jun 2005 15:57:25 -0000
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Jody Kass's message
(Some subscribers noted that Jody's previous posting had various technical
glitches, so we're sending it out again---- Bob H.)

Submitted by Jody Kass   <jodykass@yahoo.com> 

I believe that the discussion to date, which has focused on what each one of
us might get out of attending an annual Brownfields Conference, misses an
extremely important, though less tangible point: the influence that that
Conference has on the brownfields "industry."   

Remember, the "field" of Brownfields is young.  It was not until the
mid-1990s that it was acknowledged that there was a need to address the
estimated 600,000 brownfield sites that exist across this country.  In 2002,
the federal Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization
Act was passed; and many states have only recently passed brownfields laws
(though some are in their 2nd or 3rd generation of statutes).  New York's
first brownfields law did not pass until October 2003.   

While these laws create financial incentives, limit liability and help
establish a framework to encourage brownfields redevelopment, the practical
implementation of the laws is only now being tested and understood.   And,
what is clear, is that there are statutory, regulatory and administrative
interpretations and amendments that are needed to advance the sustainable
re-use of brownfields, and that how these laws are interpreted, and whether
or not these changes are made, affect everyone in the industry -- lenders,
developers, nonprofits, government agencies, etc. 

The annual EPA brownfields conference is the key place where the broadest
spectrum of stakeholders in the industry come together.  The underlying
structure, rhythm and direction of the framework that governs public and
private brownfields transactions and policy decisions are informed and
influenced by what takes place at this annual conference:   

There are tremendous formal and informal networking opportunities - Not just
the panel discussions, but what takes place in the hallways of the
convention center, at the cocktail receptions, even on the plane on the way
to and from the conference. 

There is unparalleled access to senior level EPA staff from the Regional
office and headquarters; As the conference has been so successful in
bringing in senior State and local agency staff, it also provides tremendous
access to these individuals. The brownfields industry is only now beginning
to mature at the Federal, State and local government level, and in the
private sectors -  all at the same time, but not at the same pace.  This
annual conference provides a forum for key stakeholders to catch up with
each other, to discuss and understand:

Interpretations of federal law and policy 
Interpretations of State law and policy 
Opportunity for government officials and other decision-makers (and those
who seek to influence decision-makers) to hear how it is done elsewhere and
learn from those experiences.  I believe we each have a responsibility to
attend the annual conference and to continue to share our experiences in the
field, as we, together, mold and shape this industry. The annual conference
provides a forum, however imperfect or uneven it may be, to share
information. I wholeheartedly support the continuation of the brownfields
conference on an annual basis.  

Submitted by Jody Kass, Co-Director of New Partners for Community
Revitalization, a NYC-based nonprofit organization, working to advance
community revitalization in low and moderate income neighborhoods with a
particular focus on brownfields redevelopment.  

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