Florida Brownfields Association Partnerships
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
The Florida Brownfields Association (FBA) has an excellent working relationship with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Many of our FBA members have direct contact with USEPA offices through the community Brownfields Grant program, the application of federal environmental and redevelopment policies, assisting in the establishment and implementation of quality assurance and other regulatory guidelines, as well as overall implementation of the Brownfields program. There are many occasions where one on one exchanges of information are initiated with and through the USEPA Region 4 representatives, such as the Regional Brownfields Coordinator, Project Officers, Quality Assurance Manager and others. USEPA representatives are always ready to participate in panels or offer presentations at the various workshops, seminars, and conferences organized by the FBA and its members. The USEPA recognizes the expertise the FBA offers in promoting and applying the Brownfields program to the many community redevelopment projects being pursued throughout the State of Florida. With the assistance of the USEPA, our FBA membership has been instrumental in the successes realized in the State, Regional, and local Brownfields effort.
FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
State environmental agency representation in local Brownfields programs has been the cornerstone of the Florida Brownfields Redevelopment effort. During its initial formation, the FBA enlisted the help of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and they have continued to work in partnership with each other to develop a first-class State Brownfields Redevelopment Program. Early relationships were established to assure an FDEP presence in all FBA activities. The FBA took a leading role in promoting the State’s Brownfields Site Rehabilitation Agreement (BSRA), a FDEP oversight program, as one of the most desirable and effective incentives for obtaining a Brownfields designation. The FBA has lobbied the state legislation to improve the Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credit (VCTC), another incentive to cleaning up contaminated Brownfields sites. With FDEP oversight, the State incentive program has been acknowledged to be among the greater national successes for the cleanup and redevelopment of the many state Brownfield areas and sites. FDEP representatives have always offered their expertise to panel discussions and Brownfields presentations at local and state workshops, seminars and conferences. In doing so, FDEP representatives at both the state and regional levels have contributed to the advancement of all the Brownfields programs in Florida, as well as the implementation of FBA goals and objectives as they have related to state Brownfields guidelines and policies.
OFFICE OF TOURISM, TRADE, AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The object of the Florida Brownfields Act was to promote the idea of cleaning up and redeveloping overlooked and abandoned or underused commercial and industrial properties with real or perceived environmental concerns. In order to accomplish this, the State of Florida established certain incentives to encourage the goals of cleanup and redevelopment. The Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED) was assigned the responsibility to administer the funds the state would provide to initiate these Brownfields incentive programs. Representatives of OTTED have been members of the FBA since its inception as a voluntary working group. OTTED members have offered their expertise in describing the qualifications and application processes necessary to obtain the State Brownfields incentive funds. In addition to their FBA organizational input, OTTED is always willing to help educate local and regional Brownfields programs in such State incentives as VCTC, job creation bonuses, and other available tax credits that may be acquired through Brownfields Redevelopment. The partnership of OTTED and FBA has been a strong one throughout the evolution of the National and State Brownfields movement.
Since Brownfields are related to economic redevelopment, Enterprise Florida (EFI) became the likely entity to be assigned to leading those statewide efforts as they related to Brownfields economic revitalization. Economic incentives are key to the Brownfields program; therefore, Enterprise Florida was among the first organizations the FBA sought out to assist them in advancing their goals in the State’s Brownfields program. Through its centrally located offices in Orlando, Enterprise Florida graciously offered FBA its meeting facilities for its monthly meetings. Enterprise Florida has been on the FBA Board of Directors as part of its incorporation from the beginning. They have always had a presence at local, regional, and state workshops, seminars, and conferences where they instruct participants about the state economic incentives available to Brownfields activities and how qualification criteria for these funds can be met. They are expert in defining all of the federal and state financial and liability incentives being offered through the Brownfields program. The Enterprise Florida and FBA partnership has become a positive approach to achieving the cleanup goals of the state and an efficient avenue through which the economic advantages of the Brownfields Redevelopment program may be obtained.
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW INSTITUTE
Through our interest in Environmental Justice in Brownfields, the FBA has established an informal partnership with the Environmental Law Institute in Washington D.C., where such issues are considered and promoted. Not only has the partnership been one of sharing information, participating in public debate, and seeking a better understanding of the issue, but the FBA has been a financial contributor to the programs the institute advocates in the area of Environmental Justice.