The Brownfield Problem Essay

1834 Words8 Pages
The Brownfield Problem      Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real, or perceived environmental contamination that can add cost, time, and uncertainty to the redevelopment process. Throughout the country there are an estimated 450,000 brownfields. These vacant properties exist mostly in cities, serving no practical purpose, and act as both eyesores and environmental as well as economic pitfalls. The inner cities, where most brownfields exist, were once the only choice developers had in deciding where to build industry. However, since the birth of environmental laws and regulation, the redevelopment of these…show more content…
In these areas, environmental concern pales in comparison to the concerns that the local citizens in these areas have, such as crime, poverty, and unemployment. The brownfield issue, however, is clearly an environmental issue that is linked to a city's economic vitality and competitiveness. Properties sit abandoned because of real or perceived contamination. Cost/benefit analysis has driven development away from these sites toward suburban and rural greenfields because of a lot of federal and state law with regulations that mean delays and lots of money and paperwork. This leads to a smaller urban economy and tax base that facilitates urban life.      Environmental regulations have been established without regard to economic ramifications, and a general litigation craze has assigned legal liability without regard logical personal or corporate responsibility. Basically, groups of individuals that had little or nothing to do with a site's contamination become responsible, and in turn, liable for its cleanup. Meanwhile, the actual polluters escape accountability. Some cleanup requirements are far too strict, yet others are ambiguous to a point, and changing. Furthermore, the division of authority between levels of government, or red tape, and various agencies make compliance with the laws difficult.      These uncertainties, coupled with related delays and confusion linked to the
Open Document