Brownfields development will continue to be a hot topic in 2000. EPA, Congress, the states and local governments are all getting involved in the issue. Here are some of the latest developments.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES. The EPA announced that it is accepting proposals for Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilots until February 7, 2000. Up to $500,000 may be granted per eligible entity. These pilot grants are intended to allow states, political subdivisions and Indian tribes to make loans to facilitate environmental remediation and redevelopment. EPA expects to select up to 70 pilot programs by May 2000.
EPA also announced the latest round of grants for brownfields site assessments. The deadline for these grant applications is February 16, 2000. EPA will select up to 50 new pilot programs for these $200,000 grants by April 2000. More than 300 such grants have been given to cities, states, Indian tribes and other governmental entities to date. Supplemental assistance is also being offered to existing pilot programs in amounts up to $150,000. Finally, an additional $50,000 may be available for sites that will be used as green space, such as parks, hiking trails, playgrounds or habitat restoration.
EPA is also making available grant monies for brownfields jobs training. Applications for these grants are due by March 3, 2000, and will be awarded in amounts up to $200,000.
PROPOSED BROWNFIELDS LEGISLATION. Mayor Anthony Williams of the District of Columbia announced proposed legislation, the Brownfields Revitalization Act of 1999, on November 4, 1999. The Act would establish a voluntary cleanup program, clarify cleanup standards, authorize the use of institutional and engineering controls, allow for the issuance of certificates of completion and prospective purchaser agreements, establish site assessment and cleanup funds, and related measures. A companion bill introduced by D.C. Council Member David Catania would provide financial incentives in the form of real property and franchise tax abatement, the ability to establish Environmental Savings Accounts, and Brownfields Site Assessment and Cleanup Revolving Funds.
BROWNFIELDS '99. EPA will be hosting its annual brownfields conference on December 6-8 at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Dallas. Keynote speakers include Carol Browner, Administrator of the EPA; the Honorable Ronald Kirk, Mayor of Dallas; the Honorable Tim Fields, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response at the EPA. The conference will feature four separate tracks of presentations: Preparing Sites for Reuse; Financing and Making the Deal; Understanding Legal and Policy Issues; and Redeveloping for Sustainability. Amy Edwards of our Washington, D.C., office will be a speaker on a panel entitled "Avoiding Land Mines: Making Institutional Controls Work." Amy is chairing the ASTM Task Group that is developing national guidance on this issue. The guidance is expected to be finalized in the spring of 2000.
REGION V DRAFT GUIDANCE: INSTITUTIONAL CONTROLS AT RCRA SITES. In mid-October, representatives of EPA Region V announced that they are circulating internal draft guidance that could affect the use of institutional controls at RCRA corrective action sites. This draft guidance could affect the use of institutional controls at Superfund and brownfields sites as well. The draft guidance states that the EPA does not have authority to enforce institutional controls at RCRA corrective action sites. Accordingly, EPA Region V is asking the states in that region to commit, in writing, that they both have the authority to implement institutional controls at RCRA corrective action sites and are willing to implement those controls as long as they may be needed. Otherwise, EPA Region V will issue "permanent" Section 7003 orders or require cleanup to an unrestricted use level.
REGION VI RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGY. EPA Region VI had a stakeholders meeting on November 9 and 10 to discuss its draft Risk Management Strategy. This strategy advocates the use of risk-based decision-making principles at contaminated sites. Two key issues are the remediation of non-aqueous phase liquids and the enforceability of institutional controls. Amy Edwards of our Washington, D.C., office was asked to brief Region VI officials on the issue of institutional controls at an earlier briefing on October 27.
FLORIDA BROWNFIELDS. To date, only two privately owned properties have been designated under the Florida Brownfields Redevelopment Act as brownfields sites. However, Metropolitan Dade County is getting into the act; interested stakeholders have formed the Miami-Dade County Brownfields Oversight Committee to develop a "wish list" of additional incentives needed under the Act and draft legislation needed to make a brownfields development program a success in Florida. The Committee met at the end of September to develop a legislative briefing package for the Florida Legislature's upcoming session in 2000.