Brownfields Tool Kit Terms

The Environmental Law Institute’s Brownfields Tool Kit is a resource designed to help communities play a more pro-active role in brownfields cleanup and redevelopment. Too often, communities are in a reactive role, responding to proposals from developers or local governments. More importantly, large numbers of properties remain underused or abandoned in communities across the country because no one has taken the initiative to address them.

The Tool Kit is designed to guide communities in initiating or participating in the development of brownfields cleanup and redevelopment proposals, with the goal of increasing the number of brownfield redevelopments that are initiated by communities and facilitating those that are initiated by other stakeholders. The Tool Kit provides citizens, community activists, community development organizations and other community stakeholders with the tools to accomplish these goals.

Although several groups have issued publications that seek to help communities understand brownfields issues, the Tool Kit seeks to fill gaps in the literature by providing a hands-on, user-friendly road map that includes a series of checklists and worksheets that can be used by community members who want to take a pro-active role in addressing brownfields properties in their communities. The Kit will be geared to the lay person, but will also be designed to serve as a resource to the most sophisticated brownfields stakeholders. The Kit is modeled, in part, on the ELI publication entitled “A Community Environmental Health Assessment Workbook.”

The Kit will be available online through ELI’s Brownfields Center and in hard copy. Online, it will be accessible on a chapter-by-chapter or subject matter basis. The Kit will also provide ample references to current reports and literature on brownfields that can augment the information presented in the Tool Kit.

Principal topics covered in the Tool Kit will include:

  • Brownfields Basics;

  • Identifying brownfield properties in your community;

  • Identifying appropriate and best uses of brownfield properties in your community;

  • Working with your state brownfield program to achieve cleanup and redevelopment of properties in your community;

  • Working with and obtaining local government support for brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects;

  • Understanding the basic finances underlying brownfield cleanups and redevelopments;

  • Working with and attracting developers to your community;

  • Determining and providing input into whether a cleanup will protect public health and the environment;

  • Ensuring long-term protection of public health and the environment at redeveloped brownfields that contain residual contamination;

  • Building coalitions in support of community brownfield redevelopment projects; and

  • Working with lawyers and consultants involved in brownfield redevelopments.