Panel at Brownfields 2011 to Discuss Emerging Trends of IC Stewardship

A group of institutional control experts and state and local government experts, in a roundtable setting, will describe and compare thoughts about emerging trends in the IC institution, and particularly IC monitoring and stewardship, during an upcoming educational session at Brownfields 2011 – April 4th at 1pm.

As those who follow IC issues know, much has happened over the years to improve the IC institution. Many states enacted UECA or have similar statutes that increase the force of environmental deed restrictions, most states provide web-based databases or GIS maps of IC sites, state agencies audit IC sites, CERCLA “Continuing Obligations” provides liability incentives for IC compliance, and in general, among other things, widespread awareness of IC issues now exists.

Even with this behind us, IC issues still prove perplexing especially as to issues of IC monitoring and compliance assurance – see ASTSWMO Report on IC monitoring trends among states. Trends in IC monitoring seem to divide in two categories. First, there are trends that leverage the coordination of local and state (or even federal) governments. In these cases, local government agencies, particularly permitting and planning departments, receive IC maps and identify whether local permit-required activities occur or are proposed at these sites. Indeed, state statutes, such as Colorado’s Stat. sec. 25-15-324 (avail. at link), require this interaction. And some states, such as in Texas, secure local government approval for the creation of groundwater “no-use” zones.

Second, rather then leveraging local governments, another category of trends tends to impose burdens directly on property owners and/or responsible parities to periodically inspect or otherwise assure compliance with ICs. In some cases, state regulations or laws such as new amendments in Michigan “due care” law require this. Or, in others, deed restriction provisions directly require this type of private inspection and compliance assurance. If not directly required, federal law and some states incentivise IC “continuing obligations” by making IC compliance a condition for future liability relief.

While these trends evolve, so do IC mapping and monitoring technologies – providing solutions that enable both of these trends to powerfully move forward. Whether through the ability to show interactive maps of ICs, by creating web platforms for inter-governmental coordination on permits and IC issues, or through a range of evolving electronic IC monitoring tools, technology evolutions continue to enable the IC institution.

During the roundtable – see the session “In it for the Long Haul ….” at Brownfields 2011 for the speaker list and biographies – experts from New York, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania, EPA, and private sector IC experts who work in California, Pennsylvania, Missouri and other states will describe the trends in their states, in their local governments, at EPA, the status of ASTM’s Continuing Obligation Guide, and underpinning web technologies. I’ll be offering introductory remarks and helping to facilitate the discussion and audience questions. Don’t miss it.

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