Poster Paper: Space and Place, and the Diffusion of EPA Brownfields Program Projects Among U.S. Counties

Friday, November 9, 2012
Liberty A & B (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kris Wernstedt, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and Matthew Dull, Virginia Tech

Space, Place, and Race, and the Diffusion of EPA Brownfields Program Projects among U.S. Counties

Since 1995, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded roughly 3,000 grants and loans totaling nearly $1 billion to states, local communities, and tribal governments to repair and redevelop contaminated brownfield properties.  We apply a hazard duration model (time-to-event analysis) to analyze the awarding of this EPA Brownfields Program financial support to U.S. counties, both during the Program’s eight-year long pilot phase and since it gained firmer statutory footing with passage of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act in 2002.  Our approach draws on an original dataset of applicant and award recipient data obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests and additional public sources, including the US Census of Population and Census of Governments. Through an empirical analysis that includes social, economic, and political characteristics of applicants and award winners, as well as several measures of spatial proximity to existing Brownfields Program award recipients, we aim to illuminate the factors that have affected the distribution and timing of awards.  Our paper contributes to empirical research examining the distribution of federal government resources through competitive grant programs. It also offers insight into the consequences of these increasingly prominent policy instruments. Finally, our focus on county government applicants sheds light on the role of these important actors in inter-governmental relations.