Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Meyer, Peter B., 1943-

Author's Keywords

Political control; Bureaucracy; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Brownfield


United States. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976; Brownfields--United States


Public investment and interest into brownfields has increased markedly in the past two decades. However, scholarship has not kept pace with this growth. Every state in the U.S. has created a brownfields program to deal with the presence of these properties in their state. However, the mechanisms offered in these state programs to facilitate brownfield remediation and redevelopment has gone untested and underresearched. This dissertation gathered data on all fifty state brownfield programs and the related Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) enforcement and inspection data. The fifty state data was then supplemented with three state case studies using in-depth interviews with key participants and policymakers. The findings of this dissertation demonstrate that a great diversity in mechanisms to facilitate brownfield remediation and redevelopment exists across these programs. The findings also illustration a level of disinterest by political officials in the monitoring of these programs. Furthermore, program officials indicate a significant connection and responsibility to the entity that gives them the most money--the EPA. Overall, the diversity across the states, lack of political interest, and influence of individual EPA Regions offers some insights into the potential for serious unanticipated consequences of the movement to protect liability from environmental contamination while offering public resources to redevelop brownfields. This dissertation also finds that the related RCRA program may offer an indicator for environmental protectiveness of a particular state.