|From:||"Peter B. Meyer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||21 May 2007 02:59:06 -0000|
|Subject:||Re: [CPEO-BIF] Reflections on European brownfield policy|
Let me echo Kris' writeup on the value of the second CABERNET conference
... and assure you that the third conference, while it will be held in
France, will be mostly in English and will have sessions with
simultaneous translation into English from French (as we had from German
into English in Stuttgart). We'll be sure to alert you to the event in
time to plan for it -- even to contribute to it if you want, but you can
keep tabs on it at www.cabernet.org.uk.
One key facet of then difference between the US and the EU countries at
the conference that Kris passed over lightly strikes me as worthy of
more consideration: the extent to which addressing brownfields -- and
the efficient reuse of ALL urban land -- is central to their pursuit of
sustainable development. We have a tendency, evident in the history of
our legislation and regulations regarding contaminated lands, to look at
brownfields as EITHER an economic development OR an environmental
protection problem but rarely as both simultaneously. Most European
programsa for urban regeneration attempt to tackle the issues involved
on both levels at the same time.
Setting the issue as either/or means that wehave a tendency to look at short term economic returns and ignore long-term enviromental stewardship issues, or overdue stringent adherence to the polluter pays and precautionary principles. . Economic development priorities drives us torwards taking Rsik-Based Corrective Action approaches without addressing the record-keeping requirements that successful RBCA programs require. An absolutist protection of human health and the environment from the damage associated with past contamination, on the other hand, can result in the imposition of mitigation standards that are so stringesnt that no action is taken -- or that the immediate ecosystem risks are contained but the land is left idle, since any use could expose humans to higher risks.
Successful regeneration and efficient untilization of our sunk infrastructure, as well as the development of more sustainable urban forms, requires that this dichotomy be brokern down, and we learn better how to promote both economic redevelopment and environmental protection. Our colleagues and competitiors in other countries, including those from the Third World and from the newly emerging state of Central and Eastn Europe, have much to teach us in this regard, and we need to learn those lessons.
On the other hand, we have much to offer them. Kris mentioned environmental insurance in enumerating differences, but did not dwell on the extent to which the use of that tool for risk management is far more advanced in the US than it is in Europe. Certainly the financial risks differ, and we tend to be more litigious, but the issues are not just matters of risk, but the relationship of risks to rewards. The declining population of the EU member states means that they have proportionally more old economically depressed urban areas than we do, thus a higher proportion of sites with inadequate rewards to warrant high risks, so insurance may be more valuable there than here ... and yet, the coverage products and their use lag the development of the insurance risk transfer markets in the US.
Finally, as an active participant in our past discussions about subsidies and brownfield redevelopment, I need to note that the pursuit of sustainable development as an objective may warrant focused incentives of a type not yet considered here, but that have been used in a number of contexts in Europe.
Best, Peter - - - - - - - - Peter B. Meyer Professor Emeritus of Urban Policy and Economics Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Management School of Urban and Public Affairs University of Louisville - - - - - - - - Director of Applied Research Institute of Public Leadership and Public Affairs Northern Kentucky University - - - - - - - - President, The E.P. Systems Group, Inc. - - - - - - - - Senior Advison, E2 Inc. - - - - - - - - Managing Member, Ecofun, LLC - - - - - - - - cell +1-502-435-3240 phone +1-859-491-9298 - - - - - - - - 3205 Huntersridge Lane Taylor Mill, KY 4101 USA _______________________________________________ Brownfields mailing list Brownfields@list.cpeo.org http://www.cpeo.org/mailman/listinfo/brownfields
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