Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1998

Center/Program

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Abstract

Brownfield projects are essentially real estate developments with a twist, and the old real estate adage certainly applies: "Location, location, location." But if time is the fourth dimension, then time is also the fourth element in a successful brownfield project- preferably, spending as little of it as possible.

The timing of standard governmental cleanup processes is simply incompatible with many kinds of real estate projects. Forget about cleanups of National Priorities List (NPL) sites under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Contingency Plan (NCP); those take on average almost twenty years to complete. But even many state voluntary cleanup programs, despite their aspirations to speed, can take many months or even years of paperwork. The multiple steps-work plans, sampling reports, cleanup method selection, completion reports-and the governmental review of each add up to long delays. While you're waiting, the proposed real estate project may well have missed its market or found another site.

There is sometimes an alternative: do it yourself. Just go in, clean up, and build, without stopping for environmental agency approval along the way. This article describes the advantages and disadvantages of "going it alone"-investigating and remediating a contaminated property without government oversight or approval.

Comments

©1998 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

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