October 14, 2010, WASHINGTON (Coal Geology): As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) RE-Powering America’s Land initiative, the agency has developed a two-year draft management plan to advance the development of renewable energy on potentially contaminated land and mining sites. The draft plan describes activities EPA can take to build upon the progress that the initiative has achieved since its launch in September of 2008. EPA started the initiative to determine the feasibility of developing renewable energy production on Superfund, brownfields, and former landfill or mining sites. Superfund sites are the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified by EPA for cleanup due to the risk they pose to human health or the environment. Brownfields are properties at which expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence of contaminants. The initiative aims to decrease the amount of green space used for development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide health and economic benefits to local communities, including job creation.
During the fall and winter of 2009, EPA met with stakeholders from state and local government, the renewable energy sector, finance, utilities, land owners, parties responsible for cleaning up sites, community organizations and nonprofits to hear feedback on barriers to using contaminated sites for renewable energy and how to overcome those barriers. EPA used the information provided at the stakeholder meetings to develop the draft management plan.
Activities to be undertaken as part of the management plan include:
· Developing and expanding the toolbox of resources for use by EPA, states, and stakeholders including guidance, case studies and fact sheets
· Conducting outreach to different stakeholder groups
· Clarifying liability protections
· Adding other sites to the Google Earth mapping tool, such as state-tracked contaminated lands
· Launching a webinar series on October 21, which will be an overview of the RE-Powering initiative and on renewable energy on contaminated land
· Seeking collaborative opportunities with other federal agencies to site renewable energy projects on potentially contaminated land and mine sites
The public can submit comments on the draft plan on the RE-Powering website until November 30, 2010.
More information on the plan: http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland/