Atlanta/Washington D.C. (September 28, 2022) - Gerald Pouncey, Jr., Chairman of Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP and head of the firm’s Environmental practice, has been called by U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to testify before the Senate today on best practices in urban landfill and brownfield development. According to the EPA, there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S., and programs built around assessment, clean-up and reuse of these contaminated properties have the potential to dramatically enhance and revitalize communities across the country.
“The consequences of failure to clean up brownfields and return them to use are significant, as many abandoned or underutilized properties present real safety concerns,” said Pouncey. “Brownfield redevelopment can improve the environment, create jobs, boost local economies and create opportunities in areas where they might not typically occur. The key is getting the right funding into the right hands so that this important work can continue.”
Three key takeaways from Pouncey’s testimony include:
- Funding and ownership at the state level can be more advantageous than relying on federal EPA oversight. State-led programs allow for better incentive plans and faster clean-up efforts. They also contain certain liability protections which benefit a buyer purchasing the property but also future buyers and their lenders.
- A portion of grant programs should go towards staffing state brownfield programs so they can incentivize private and public dollars to clean up these sites.
- As the typical grant program recipients do not handle the actual clean-up and redevelopment, education is important to ensure work can be done consistently and accurately across properties.
Gerald Pouncey is one of the most well-respected urban infill and redevelopment attorneys attorneys in the country and drafted Georgia’s brownfield legislation in 2002. Since then, with the help of private dollars, more than 1,300 sites across the state have gone into the program and more than 700 have achieved final clean-up in record time.
The hearing is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. at 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.