During the 1990s, Michigan lawmakers amended Michigan
cleanup law to set clear standards for outcome-based remediation that allowed
landowners and potential investors to remedy contaminated property and invest
in it with certainty. This reform ended the owners' previously open-ended
cleanup obligations and led to considerable private investment in restoring and
developing brownfield sites.
The positive statutory changes made to this program in the 1990s have been
largely undone by bureaucratic fiat, and the program has become a barrier to
redevelopment. Terminating this program would allow prospective developers to
deal directly with the federal government, which has adopted many of the
positive changes Michigan pioneered in the 1990s.