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Publication Date


Publication Title

Rutgers Law Review


Environmental law, brownfields, state law, contaminated property, development


U.S. EPA, state legislatures, and state administrative agencies have invested considerable time and money resources to encouraging urban renewal through the redevelopment of contaminated urban properties, called brownfields. These efforts attempt to induce businesses to clean and redevelop brownfields by reducing the numerous environmental barriers to redevelopment, such as the enormous cost of clean-up and threat of immeasurable liability. In this Article, I argue that environmental barriers to redevelopment, although important, are but one piece of a complicated urban redevelopment puzzle. The other pieces, largely missing from existing efforts to encourage redevelopment of brownfields are non-environmental factors, such as size and location of candidate sites, infrastructure issues, and the relative obsolescence of existing structures. These non-environmental factors influence businesses' decision-making and operate as important barriers to redevelopment. Because existing brownfields redevelopment programs fail to focus on these missing pieces, they cannot succeed substantially in encouraging urban renewal.