Understanding the Legal Landscape of Brownfield Development
Elizabeth Glass Geltman
Discusses how abandoned industrial land might be reused, even under current pollution laws
Older—and often economically depressed—industrial cities generally have a number of well located but abandoned industrial sites. Too frequently these sites are heavily polluted by the residue of toxic wastes dumped when old factories were still in use. These "brownfield" sites must be cleaned up under existing law before they can be redeveloped. And yet the question of who will bear the cost of this cleanup frequently stymies efforts to return these sites to productive use. A complicated net of federal, state and local regulations can involve several generations of owners in potential liability for the cleanup, frequently resulting only in extended litigation, not often in the cleanup of the site. In this book, Elizabeth Glass Geltman surveys the laws on both the federal and state level with regard to the cleanup of brownfield sites. The author makes valuable suggestions for reforming these laws that will help encourage land reuse and the accompanying redevelopment of the industrial base of many American cities both large and small.
Elizabeth Glass Geltman is Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School and is the author of many books on environmental law, including Modern Environmental Law: Policy and Practice.
Praise / Awards
". . . provides a solid introduction to the various regulatory initiatives that influence brownfield redevelopment. Fortunately, the author does not stop there. After defining the cause of 'brownfields paralysis' using a legal framework, the last chapter comprehensively discusses various administrative and legislative initiatives designed to spur brownfield redevelopment. With a sensitivity to inherent policy implications, the discussion includes well-reasoned calls for regulatory overhaul, detailed suggestions for congressional action, and recommendations for stronger stakeholder processes."
—Jim Hamilton, CLF Services, Boston, Environment, January/February 2001
". . . an in depth [sic] description of the laws, regulations, and the nation-wide problems with the current policies guiding brownfield cleanup."
—Laura J. Hatcher, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Law and Politics Book Review, November 2000
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