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Voluntary Cleanups and Redevelopment Potential: Lessons from Baltimore, Maryland


  • Anna Alberini

    (University of Maryland)

  • Dennis Guignet

    (University of Maryland)


Policy has increasingly shifted towards economic incentives and liability attenuation for promoting cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites, but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. An example of such legislation is State Voluntary Cleanup Programs (VCPs), which were established in the US in the 1990s and to date have been implemented in almost every state. We examine Baltimore properties that participated in the Maryland VCP from its inception in 1997 to the end of 2006. Specifically, we examine what type of properties tend to participate in these programs, how these properties compare to other eligible but non-participating sites, and what is the redevelopment potential of VCP properties and implications towards open space conversion. We find that most applicants (66%) actually requested a “No Further Action Determination” directly, rather than proposing cleanup. VCP properties tend to be industrial, located in industrial areas, and away from residential neighborhoods. In more recent years larger industrial properties have increasingly enrolled in the program. The majority of sites are reused as industrial or commercial. In contrast to Alberini (2007), this suggests that pressure for residential development does not drive VCP participation. Based on differences in zoning requirements, the VCP may reduce demand for potentially contaminating activities on pristine land by as much as 1,238 to 6,444 acres, in Baltimore alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Alberini & Dennis Guignet, 2008. "Voluntary Cleanups and Redevelopment Potential: Lessons from Baltimore, Maryland," Working Papers 2008.87, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2008.87

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    2. Anna Alberini, 2007. "Determinants And Effects On Property Values Of Participation In Voluntary Cleanup Programs: The Case Of Colorado," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 415-432, July.
    3. Christopher De Sousa, 2004. "The greening of brownfields in American cities," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(4), pages 579-600.
    4. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle, November.
    5. William F. Fox & Matthew N. Murray, 2004. "Do Economic Effects Justify the Use of Fiscal Incentives?," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(1), pages 78-92, July.
    6. Marie Howland, 2004. "The Role of Contamination in Central City Industrial Decline," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 18(3), pages 207-219, August.
    7. McGrath, Daniel T., 2000. "Urban Industrial Land Redevelopment and Contamination Risk," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 414-442, May.
    8. Arthur Sementelli & Robert A. Simons, 1997. "Regulation of Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: Policy Enforcement and Unintended Consequences," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 11(3), pages 236-248, August.
    9. Alberini, Anna & Longo, Alberto & Tonin, Stefania & Trombetta, Francesco & Turvani, Margherita, 2005. "The role of liability, regulation and economic incentives in brownfield remediation and redevelopment: evidence from surveys of developers," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 327-351, July.
    10. Michael Greenstone & Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Bidding for Industrial Plants: Does Winning a 'Million Dollar Plant' Increase Welfare?," NBER Working Papers 9844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Newman, Robert J. & Sullivan, Dennis H., 1988. "Econometric analysis of business tax impacts on industrial location: What do we know, and how do we know it?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 215-234, March.
    12. Kris Wernstedt & Peter B. Meyer & Anna Alberini, 2006. "Attracting private investment to contaminated properties: The value of public interventions," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 247-369.
    13. Michael Wasylenko, 1997. "Taxation and economic development: the state of the economic literature," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Mar, pages 37-52.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Alberini & Stefania Tonin & Margherita Turvani, 2009. "The Value of Reducing Cancer Risks at Contaminated Sites: Are More Heavily Exposed People Willing to Pay More?," Working Papers 2009.60, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

    More about this item


    Brownfields; Contaminated Sites; Voluntary Cleanup Programs; Incentives;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law

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