Official loaned to Cleveland

By Mike Tobin

*Plain Dealer Reporter*

Brooke Furio's orders are simple: Take dozens of abandoned industrial lots around Cleveland, clean the land and turn them into sites bustling with jobs and business activity.

Furio, 34, on Wednesday was named the city's first land revitalization manager. Furio will be "lent" to Cleveland for two years while technically remaining an employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal government will continue to pay his salary.

Furio will be responsible for starting a land-bank program so Cleveland can clean a variety of vacant properties and offer them to companies looking to expand or relocate.

"We want to get the land-bank properties on the same playing field as proper ties you'd find in the suburbs," Furio said.

There are about 18,000 sites in Cuya hoga County that qual ify as "brownfields" abandoned or under used industrial sites where redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination. In Cleveland alone, the properties collectively cover two square miles.

Cleaning up the land often costs millions of dollars, and businesses often find it cheaper to build on unused greenspace in the suburbs.

Cleveland needs to join with state, federal and private partners to clean the land so the city can compete with the suburbs in attracting businesses, Mayor Jane Campbell said.

"We've been doing this work systematically," Campbell said. "Now we have a person where this is their primary job."

Cities including Milwaukee and St. Paul, Minn., have taken advantage of the program where the EPA provides one worker to focus on cleaning brownfields.

In the past two years, Cleveland has created two development funds totaling $45 million, with some of the money earmarked for redeveloping brownfields.

Ohio has another $50 million, but that money is spread throughout the state.

Furio was raised in Cleveland but has spent the past seven years working for the EPA in Chicago. He'll work out of the city's economic development department four days a week, spending one day with the EPA updating them on Cleveland projects.


Market Solutions For Waste Disposal

Commons Blog points today to a paper by UC Berkeley law professor Peter Menell illustrating the successes of 'variable-rate pricing' for solid waste disposal - basically paying fees based on weight or some other measurable factor. The results show that such plans are workable and do indeed reduce waste while increasing recycling. (full PDF here)


Official: U.S. May Not Build Waste Dump

/By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer/

WASHINGTON - The planned nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada
won't be built unless the Energy Department is confident of the
supporting science after investigating e-mails that showed workers
discussing fabricating data, an official said Tuesday.


AP Photo

Under angry questioning from Nevada lawmakers, deputy director Theodore
Garrish said the department was preparing to apply for a license to run
the dump, but "we have not made a final decision yet as to when or
whether to file those documents, and some of that will be based on this

"I can assure you we will not go forward unless we can have the feeling
ourselves first that this repository will be safe," said Garrish.

Reassurances from Garrish and Charles Groat, the director of the U.S.
Geological Survey
didn't satisfy the Nevadans. They have seized on the e-mails, written by

employees, as the latest reason to kill the dump planned for 90 miles
north of Las Vegas. Officials from Gov. Kenny Guinn on down expressed
outrage Tuesday during a House Government Reform subcommittee hearing.

"The fact that data may have been intentionally fabricated in service of
shoring up predetermined and politically driven conclusions calls into
question the very legitimacy of this entire program," Guinn said.

The Energy Department disclosed March 16 that e-mails written between
1998 and 2000, principally by two USGS scientists, suggested the workers
might have falsified documents. Porter's committee has released redacted
versions of dozens of the e-mails that show workers discussing
concocting facts and keeping two sets of figures, one for themselves and
one to show quality assurance officers.

On the Net:

Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management: http://www.ymp.gov

Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects: http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: http://www.nrc.gov


The United Nations - World Environment Day!

We at Buckeye Sustainability are fond of adding as many eco holidays as possible to our calender. Why stop at earthday.

To that end we want to express our sincere admiration of World Environment Day!

World Environment Day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. Another resolution, adopted by the General Assembly the same day, led to the creation of UNEP.