A Shallow Fix: The Uniform Environmental Covenants Acts Leaves Hard Brownfield Questions Unanswered

This article describes how restoring abandoned urban properties to productive use is essential in curtailing metropolitan sprawl. However, the uncertain liability regarding subsurface contamination at such sites is often an obstacle to such restoration efforts. Current owners frequently avoid conducting soil and groundwater testing for fear of what they might find might trigger very expensive cleanups. However, without such investigations, it is often difficult to attract investments or financing because developers and banks fear potential cleanup costs as well. It is this liability dynamic that impedes the remediation and reuse of many properties with subsurface environmental liability concerns. These properties are commonly known as “brownfields” and are often found in urban communities with a high percentage of low-income, minority residents. The majority of the brownfields in the United States are regulated by state and local environmental agencies rather than the federal Environmental Protection Agency and this article addresses the issue of standardizing the different approaches.


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  • Accession Number: 01000722
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2005 11:37AM