Posted at 12:09 p.m. EDT Tuesday, July 31, 2001
State, federal agencies reach agreementBY JOHN MCCARTHY
Associated Press Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The
U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies on Tuesday signed an
agreement that both departments hope will spur redevelopment of
polluted industrial sites in Ohio.
Under the agreement, the U.S. EPA endorsed Ohio's Voluntary
Action Program, which has helped to clean up about 130 sites since
The U.S. EPA still could step in if it believed a
cleanup was not done properly, but the idea is to give Ohio
businesses a ``comfort'' level that once the state signs off on a
cleanup, the federal agency won't step in, said Amy Yersavich,
director of the VAP program.
The program allows Ohio business to clean up polluted sites and
be freed from most civil liability once the state gives the site its
Ohio EPA Director Christopher Jones and David Ullrich, deputy
administrator of U.S. EPA Region 5, signed the agreement at a
refurbished downtown warehouse that now is the landlord to more than
a dozen businesses.
Ullrich said environmental law has long stood in the way of
redevelopment, frustrating business owners and government officials
``It was the unintended consequence of those laws that these
properties were not being developed,'' Ullrich said. ``We have just
seen a Renaissance in the Midwest.''
The agreement also pleased environmentalists who attended the
signing. Federal rules will require more public input than the VAP
program currently has and the Ohio EPA must get involved earlier in
``That is a big step forward,'' said Bruce Cornett of the Green