Program: Environmental cleanup & redevelopment program
All from Special Revenue Funds:
This appropriation funds the Environmental cleanup & Redevelopment program, a
program which undertakes cleanup activities at contaminated sites for which a
liable party will not or cannot assume responsibility. Cleanups of contaminated
sites to promote redevelopment also are undertaken, as well as the
administration of state matching funds for federal Superfund sites.
State law regulates how the funds are spent. Redevelopment projects cannot be
funded until all Superfund-match requirements are satisfied and projects with
acute contamination are funded. Any remaining funds must be evenly split
between urban and non-urban redevelopment projects.
Eliminating acute threats to public health is a legitimate function of state
government. Whether the DEQ accurately defines acute contamination or
efficiently manages site cleanups, are issues beyond the scope of this paper.
However, there is ample evidence that civil servants – no matter how resourceful
– are simply less equipped than entrepreneurs to appropriately assess
State government is, by its very nature, more receptive to political forces than
to market trends. Indeed, numerous are the instances in which the state has
invested tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in redevelopment schemes that
failed to return the expected results. Nor is site contamination the only factor
inhibiting redevelopment of “brownfield” sites. Consequently, appropriations
under this line item should be restricted to the cleanup of sites posing an
acute threat to public health. In the short-term, this could reduce program
expenditures by $1 million annually, and even more in future years as the number
of acutely contaminated sites diminishes. Savings: $1,000,000.