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Institutional Controls at Air Force Superfund Sites

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Master's thesis

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The Superfund environmental cleanup program has made great strides in cleaning up our nations deadliest contaminated sites. However, this success has come at a tremendous price. Congress and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been examining ways to make the Superfund cleanup process more cost effective and timely. One of the issues identified has been the practice of cleaning up sites to levels that are unwarranted and unnecessary based on the exposure scenarios presented by a sites future land use. In other words, money is being wasted by making sites cleaner than they need to be when clean ups are to residential use levels at sites where the future land use will be industrial. Based on the exposure scenarios presented by residential versus industrial land use, safe contamination levels can be reached more quickly and at less expense for industrial land uses. With the understanding that future land use assumptions can drive contamination cleanup levels with the associated expenses and timing, the question turns to how to best develop future land use assumptions. The EPA has provided guidance on implementing future anticipated land use assumptions in the Superfund cleanup process however, some EPA regional offices and state regulators are demanding more than assumptions. They are demanding future land use guarantees in the form of institutional controls before agreeing to particular remedial actions. Typically, the type of institutional controls sought are negative easements or restrictive covenants. However, the creation of these property rights requires a conveyance of these property rights from the property owner to a third party such as a state regulatory agency. Since the Department of Defense does not give away federal property rights in this manner, another form of institutional control must be used.

Subject Categories:

  • Logistics, Military Facilities and Supplies
  • Solid Wastes and Pollution and Control

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