Fourth Quarter 2004

Brownfields 2004 Conference In St. Louis - The Most Successful Ever

Holland & Knight Newsletter
Amy L. Edwards

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2004 Brownfields Conference was bigger and better than ever. More than 4,000 individuals representing brownfields redevelopers; lenders; federal, state and local governmental agencies; environmental insurance companies and others participated in the annual conference in St. Louis. The conference offered a wide array of programs, ranging from basic programs about how to write a brownfields grants application, to those focusing on more complex and cutting edge issues, such as the Triad cleanup approach, institutional controls, guaranteed fixed price remediation, vapor intrusion and the restoration economy. There were also a number of mobile workshops and walking tours to see actual brownfields sites.

EPA Administrator Leavitt delivered the keynote address on the second day of the conference. He described the old way as “mandate, regulate and litigate,” but the new way was to “collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.” He stated that projects involving problem-solving networks were the ones most likely to succeed. The following seven keys to brownfields success were identified by Leavitt:

  1. whether the key players share the same problem and the same pain
  2. whether there is a convener of stature
  3. whether there is a committed leader who can keep the project on track
  4. whether there are people of substance at the table who have authority to make decisions on behalf of their organizations or constituencies
  5. whether the group has a clearly defined purpose and has identified a solvable problem
  6. whether there is a formal charter with timetables and measures of success
  7. whether the participants are operating under a common set of facts

This year’s Phoenix Award winners were also announced and honored at the conference. They included overall prize winner Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia; as well as the following:

  • Bay Street Project in Dorchester, MA
  • Yonkers Public Library in Yonkers, NY

  • Mingo County Wood Products Industrial Park, Mingo County, WV

  • Chicago Manufacturing Campus, Chicago, IL

  • Cimarron Center Redevelopment Project, Sand Springs, OK

  • Renaissance Grand Hotel, St. Louis, MO

  • Belmar Urban Center, Lakewood, CO

  • Rio Nuevo North Redevelopment Project, Tucson, AZ

  • Terminal 18 Redevelopment Project, Seattle, WA

  • the Home of the Innocents, Louisville, KY

  • Battle Monument Area Brownfields Redevelopment Project, Trenton, NJ

  • Oakland Habitat for Humanity Housing, Oakland, CA

  • Pionierpark, Muehlheim, Germany.

The EPA’s proposed “all appropriate inquiries” rule (see related story) was a popular topic that was featured in two panels and a public comment period. In addition, Washington, D.C. partner Amy Edwards spoke on two panels regarding institutional controls and the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act. Finally, EPA reminded participants about the latest round of brownfields grant opportunities (see related story).

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