77th Annual Meeting

PROPOSING A FEDERAL AID ACCOUNT TO ASSIST CITIES IN CONDUCTING FULL-RANGE ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION ACTIVITIES FOR VACANT AND ABANDONED PROPERTIES

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, over the last ten years, has passed several policy statements on the need for assistance in conducting environmental remediation activities with the Corps of Engineers (2000), waste-to-energy initiatives (2001), childhood lead poisoning prevention (2002), closed military instillation clean-up (2004), MTBE liability (2004), and environmental healthcare support (2007); and

WHEREAS, The U.S. Conference of Mayors has extensive policy on Federal Brownfields programs; and

WHEREAS, environmental remediation is required at many sites in most cities throughout the country that are not on brownfields. In fact, there are thousands of development sites across our nation that do not include any contaminated land but contaminated buildings; and

WHEREAS, past studies conducted by the Conference of Mayors revealed upwards of 20,000 abandoned or underutilized properties covering more than 180,000 acres in cities; and

WHEREAS, indeed, the increase of abandoned and underutilized properties in the U.S. prompted the forming of the USCM Vacant and Abandoned Properties Task Force; and

WHEREAS, Federal aid does exist for the remediation of very specific pollutants such as lead paint, asbestos, and other toxins; but many sites can include multiple remediation requirements that require a 'corrective action plan' addressing all contaminants; and

WHEREAS, there is currently no Federal program that can provide direct aid to cities for environmental remediation activities associated with all contaminant clean-up activities where a brownfield or contaminated land is not involved; and

WHEREAS, cities must address the removal of multiple contaminants from a building before a vacant or abandoned site can be made eligible for development. Many times, this is a front-end cost cities must completely absorb before redevelopment can move forward. As a result, these sites simply remain in their abandoned and dilapidated state degrading communities and creating blight.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The U.S. Conference of Mayors calls on Congress to authorize a Federal aid program that provides for general environmental remediation funds for redevelopment activities of vacant and abandoned properties involving projects that include both a public and private use; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this program be authorized for five years at an annual maximum appropriation level of $100 million per year.