January 23, 2003
State Cleanup Programs
Thousands of brownfields and other contaminated sites are being returned to beneficial uses as a result of state programs, yet many of these sites lack adequate measures to protect site users from contamination that may be left. States have cleaned up more than 29,000 sites since the first program began in 1976, but they fail to ensure long-term stewardship. A new study by ELI, An Analysis of State Superfund Programs: 50-State Study, 2001Update, reveals gaps in state programs for assuring that public health and safety will be protected from residual contamination over the long term.
On January 23, 2003, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a research seminar with John Pendergrass (ELI senior attorney and director of the Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs), Susan Sladek (Senior State Policy Analyst, US EPA, OSWER) and Steven Brown (Executive Director, ECOS). These speakers offered insights on successes of state cleanup programs, trends in state mandatory and voluntary cleanup programs and in brownfield programs, and prospects for the future as states face severe budget cuts. Topics discussed included state progress in cleaning up sites, cleanup standards, the growing importance, and status, of long-term stewardship and institutional controls, and funding availability.