2008 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2008 18:16:59 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: [CPEO-BIF] Automobile plants
Now available from EPA:

"Shifting Gears: Driving Toward Auto Sector Property Revitalization"

The automobile, long a symbol of the American Dream, spurred economic development in the 20th century and created a complex industry across the United States. Automobile manufacturing grew into a vast array of supporting industry sectors, all centered on meeting the demands of the driving consumer. As the industry grew, it came to employ hundreds of thousands of workers and established itself as the economic hub for hundreds of United States cities. The growth of the U.S. auto industry transformed the nation's economy as well as the landscape of thousands of acres of commercial and industrial property across the country.

U.S. automobile manufacturing reached its peak in the 1980s. In 1987, the industry employed 751,000 workers and generated annual revenue in the hundreds of billions. Since then, plant restructuring, technological advancements in automobile assembly and manufacturing, and increased international competition are resulting in the consolidation and closing of U.S. manufacturing plants. In addition, many of the parts used in automobile production are increasingly being manufactured overseas.


The economics and landscape of the Midwest states are particularly hard hit by recent changes in automobile manufacturing. Between 1997 and 2002, nine motor vehicle manufacturing plants closed in U.S. EPA's Region 5 (i.e., Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin) alone, and many became brownfield properties.

Plant closings leave a physical mark upon municipal landscapes. Underutilized, idled and often contaminated properties that need to be cleaned up and revitalized are blighting many Midwestern cities and towns. These communities often are struggling to put these properties back into productive use and rejuvenate their local economies. This report illustrates the significant impact that idled properties are having on many communities. This report's purposes are to provide background, success stories and lessons learned for municipalities dealing with these properties; illustrate the opportunities for sustainable redevelopment; and offer ideas to help reduce the impact of future plant closures.


The challenges posed by auto industry brownfields also can offer opportunities for communities, regulatory authorities, the automotive industry and other stakeholders to work together to redevelop these properties and revive local economies. This report presents case studies of successful automotive property redevelopment projects and offers lessons learned from some successful redevelopment case studies. The case studies provide real life or information needed to address the complex examples of how municipalities can navigate complex issues associated with former automotive properties and address similar sites in their own communities. In many cases, revitalization can be facilitated by partnerships forged between communities and the manufacturers themselves.
To download the full, 34-page, 2.7 MB report, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/policy/autosector.pdf,


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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