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Sector–Based Initiatives

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Auto Sector Property Revitalization

The automobile, long a symbol of the American Dream, spurred economic development in the 20th century and created a complex industry across the United States. Many towns and cities across the country and particularly in the Midwest grew up around automotive manufacturing facilities. As these facilities close, the economic future of communities may turn on finding successful solutions for the cleanup and revitalization of the properties left behind. The brownfields created when plants close or manufacturers consolidate and relocate often sit within the urban core of our nation's communities.

The EPA report on auto sector property revitalization provides an overview of community success stories. By building strong partnerships and setting priorities for recovery and revitalization, the public and private sectors are realizing a great deal of success in addressing idle automotive facility and support industry brownfields. This report provides a background on the U.S. automotive industry and success stories and lessons learned for municipalities dealing with auto sector properties; illustrates the opportunities for sustainable redevelopment; and offers ideas to help reduce the impact of future plant closures.

Sustainable Reuse of Brownfields: Resources for Communities

This guide provides resources and contacts for those communities interested in redeveloping their brownfield properties in environmentally sound, economically competitive, and socially responsible ways.


Portfields is a federal interagency partnership addressing brownfields in and around port communities, with an emphasis on the development of environmentally-sound port facilities. Portfields is led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and EPA, with support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Economic Development Administration (EDA), and other federal agencies. In 2003, the Portfields federal partners selected three port communities—Bellingham, Washington; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Tampa, Florida—to serve as pilots and demonstrate how intergovernmental collaboration can foster innovative solutions that promote economic development while protecting human health and the environment. Portfields, through increased federal, state, and local coordination, assists the Pilot Ports in leveraging resources to revitalize waterfront areas, improving marine transportation, and protecting and restoring critical habitat.

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Mine-Scarred Lands

Mine-scarred lands (MSLs) are defined as lands, associated waters, and surrounding watersheds where extraction, beneficiation, or processing of ores and minerals (including coal) has occurred. These MSL properties are located on public and private land and involve complex environmental, social, and environmental issues. An interagency approach comprising nine federal agencies has been established to cleaning up and reuse these sites. These agencies makeup the MSL Working Group, which hasidentified six Demonstration Projects across the U.S. where the opportunity exists to collaborate with local stakeholders by providing technical assistance to clean up and reuse mine-scarred lands.

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Mill Revitalization

Mills tell the story of America. Economic, social, and technological changes have left a legacy of abandoned and potentially contaminated mills across the country. The good news is that creative communities have found innovative approaches to revitalizing mill properties.

The EPA report on "Revitalizing America's Mills" tells the story of challenges faced and solutions found - examples that communities nation-wide can draw from in dealing with their own mill projects.
The history of U.S. mill operations predates the country itself-going as far back as the first British settlements on the North American continent 400 years ago. Mill operations were the lifeblood of those seedling communities, serving as the economic foundation and often the sole source of livelihood for residents. Mills were at the heart of the American manufacturing industry. Mills grew from our economic demand for an ever-changing variety of products. As our demands changed with technological advancements, so did the mills that manufactured the products that fueled our economy. The decline of American manufacturing industries left a legacy of vacant, often abandoned, and sometimes contaminated former mill sites. To date, EPA's Brownfields Grant Program has contributed to the revitalization of approximately 355 mill sites throughout the country.

The mill redevelopment report provides stakeholders in mill redevelopment including, communities, owners, developers, and investors with information on the successful cleanup and reuse of old mills to help them move forward with their own projects.

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Following the rapid growth of the rail industry in the second half of the nineteenth century was its significant decline in the twentieth century. Left behind was an extensive legacy of potentially contaminated and abandoned rail lands. The sheer extent and size of these potentially contaminated and abandoned properties inspired the establishment of EPA's Railfields Initiative. Through the initiative, EPA seeks to work together with statekholders, including other government agencies, rail companies and associations, and real estate professionals, to clean up and redevelop rail properties. Rail properties are located in rural and urban areas of every state in the nation. Prior to the advent of the Railfields Initiative, EPA's Brownfields Program dealt with rail properties through its Brownfields Pilots. Properties affiliated with 234 Brownfields Pilots, which comprise approximately one-third of the pre-Brownfields law Pilots, have rail-related components. The EPA Railfields Initiative is still in its infancy, and is being modeled after existing sector-based initiatives. Under this new initiative, EPA hopes to further the cleanup and redevelopment of rail properties.

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Petroleum Brownfields

In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act ("Brownfields Law") provided a provision allocating 25 percent of funding each year to assess, clean up, and ready for reuse petroleum brownfields sites. This law expanded the original EPA Brownfields Program by including relatively low-risk petroleum sites as eligible sites for Brownfields assessment and cleanup grant funding.

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Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Brownfields Prevention

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives EPA the authority to control the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA also set forth a framework for the management of non-hazardous wastes. The 1986 amendments to RCRA enabled EPA to address environmental problems that could result from USTs that store petroleum and other hazardous substances. RCRA focuses only on active and future facilities and does not address abandoned or historical sites.

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Please email comments on this website to:Brownfields-Web-Comments@epamail.epa.gov

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