Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) Program Benefits
The Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM) in partnership with other federal agencies, states, tribes, local governments, and communities strives to preserve land and clean up communities to create a safer environment for all Americans.
On this page:
- By Protecting Human Health & the Environment
- By Leveraging Economic Opportunities and Jobs and Mitigating Climate Change
- By Working Towards a Sustainable Future
- OLEM Programs Address Contamination at Superfund, Brownfields and RCRA Sites Near 61 Percent of the U.S. Population
- OLEM and its Partners Oversee Facilities to Prevent Releases into Communities
By Protecting Human Health & the Environment
- Superfund Cleanup Reduces Blood Lead Levels in Children : Results from an analysis of over one million children’s blood lead levels measurements from across six states over two decades indicate that cleanup at lead contaminated Superfund sites lowered the risk of elevated blood lead levels for children living within 2 kilometers of the sites by 13 to 26 percent.
- Superfund Cleanup Improves Infant Health : Superfund cleanups reduces the incidence of congenital anomalies in infants of mothers living within 2 kilometers of a site, by roughly 20 percent to 25 percent.
- Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Prevention Program Protects Groundwater: Strong UST prevention programs have decreased confirmed releases at sites by almost 52 percent over the last 15 years; helping to protect groundwater – the source of drinking water for nearly half of the US.
- Responding to Emergencies: Every year, more than 30,000 emergencies involving the release (or threatened release) of oil and hazardous substances are reported in the United States. EPA works with other federal agencies, state and local responders to eliminate danger to the public.
By Leveraging Economic Opportunities and Jobs and Mitigating Climate Change
- Cleanup Increases Housing Property Values: Peer reviewed studies have found that residential properties near Superfund and brownfields sites increased in value by 18.7 percent to 24.4 percent when a Superfund site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) and 5 percent to 15.2 percent as a result of brownfields cleanup Results of recent studies suggest large, positive and statistically significant impacts when as federal facility site is deleted from the NPL and that when a high-profile underground storage tank release is cleaned up average property prices rebound fully. And a new study has found that cleanups increased home prices within the immediate Census tract of a RCRA CA site by as much as 11%
- Cleanup Increases Local Tax Revenue: Analyzing data near 48 brownfields, we find an estimated $29 to $73 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 6 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields.
- Cleanup Creates Reuse Opportunities and Jobs:
- Brownfields has leveraged more than 176,946 jobs and $34.7 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. An average of 10.3 jobs is leveraged per $100,000 of EPA funds expended.
- As of 2020 approximately 1,000 Superfund sites are currently in reuse, which is more than half the number of sites on Superfund’s National Priorities List. EPA has data on over 9,900 businesses at 632 of these sites. In 2020 alone, these businesses generated $63.3 billion in sales, which is more than four times the amount EPA has spent at these sites. These businesses employed more than 227,000 people who earned a combined income of over $16.3 billion.
- A 2020 analysis identified 45 federal facility Superfund sites being reused with available economic data. In 2020, at these federal facility Superfund sites there were over 4,000 businesses that generate $11 billion in annual sales and provide 189,000 jobs and $14 billion in annual employment income.
- RCRA Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program Addresses Climate Change, Creates Jobs and Increases Tax Revenue: The Ellen MacArthur Foundation reported that applying circular economy strategies in five key materials (cement, aluminum, steel, plastics, and food) can achieve reductions in GHG emissions – 9.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2050 globally – equivalent to cutting current emissions from all transport to zero. America’s recycling and reuse activities, a key part of EPA’s SMM approach, accounted for 681,000 jobs, produced $37.8 billion in wages and generated $5.5 billion in tax revenues in 2012. This equates to 1.17 jobs for every 1,000 tons of materials recycled. EPA’s SMM program also encourages the beneficial use of coal ash as a replacement for cement in concrete to reduce GHG emissions and improve the strength and durability of concrete.
By Working Towards a Sustainable Future
RCRA Addresses 2.96 Billion Tons of Solid, Industrial, and Hazardous Waste a Year: Under RCRA, EPA and the states manage the safe disposal of 2.96 billion tons of solid, industrial, and hazardous waste every year. This includes protective standards for the roughly 60,000 facilities in the U.S. that annually generate and manage over 30 to 40 million tons of hazardous waste. For data analysis and visualizations using U.S. EPA Hazardous Waste Data see the RCRAInfo Web Data Portal.
RCRA SMM Program Diverts Waste from Entering Landfills and Incinerators and Helps Mitigate Climate Change: EPA is releasing a National Recycling Strategy as part of a series in building a circular economy for all that will address municipal solid waste, food waste, plastics, and will reduce environmental impacts in communities. In 2019, OLEM’s SMM Electronic Challenge participants diverted 176,494 tons of end-of life-electronics from the landfill, of which 100% went to third-party certified electronics recyclers; while over 1000 Food Recovery Challenge participants prevented and diverted 815,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators.
OLEM Programs Address Contamination at Superfund, Brownfields and RCRA Sites Near 60 Percent of the U.S. Population
OLEM and its Partners Oversee Facilities to Prevent Releases into Communities
- RCRA’s Permitting Program Protects People: EPA and state programs oversee and manage permits for approximately 60,000 facilities generating and managing hazardous waste in the United States. Eighty percent of the U.S. population lives within 3 miles of one or more of these facilities.
- Risk Management Plan (RMP) Program Protects Communities Located Near 12,300 RMP Facilities: These facilities contain the largest stockpiles of highly toxic and flammable chemicals in the United States and report on average about 234 incidents a year resulting in deaths, injuries or significant property damage.
- Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) Program Assists Communities in Emergency Planning for Over 90,000 EPCRA Facilities: OLEM provides guidance to state and local response organizations in developing emergency response plans for hazardous substances at facilities in more than 3,000 local emergency planning districts.
- Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Standards Prevent Potentially Dangerous and Costly Releases at USTs: EPA sets standards for approximately 540,000 USTs found in communities across the United States.
- Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC) Rule Helps Prevent Oil Spills at Over 550,000 Facilities: Approximately 3,800 of these facilities are required to have a Facility Response Plan because a discharge of oil could cause substantial harm to the environment.