Innovative Analysis Establishes Benefits of Federal Brownfields Program

Kevin Haninger, PhD

2009-11 S&T Policy Fellow, EEA Program, Environmental Protection Agency

haninger_kKevin Haninger, a 2009-11 S&T Policy Fellow in the Energy, Environment & Agricultural (EEA) program, who brought a background in quantitative policy analysis, contributed his skills to explore the impacts and societal benefits of programs within the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“I was able to use my background and expertise to conduct a rigorous program evaluation,” said Kevin. “I was able to carry out a project from start to finish while collaborating with several major players within EPA, learning about the needs of individual offices, and observing how they function.”

Over the past two years, Kevin led the first national study of EPA’s Brownfields Program, which awards grants to help communities assess and clean up contaminated land. Brownfields are typically areas that were previously industrial facilities, like old mills, mines, and gas stations and are now in the process of revitalization. The Government Accountability Office estimates that there are more than 450,000 of these brownfield sites around the United States. Kevin’s study examined the societal benefits of land revitalization, with particular attention to how brownfield cleanups affect property values.

Through this effort, benefits were attributed to cleanup grants and opportunities for improving program efficiencies were identified. Kevin had the chance to brief Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Responses, Mathy Stanislaus, on the results of the project .

“I’ve really learned how EPA functions. Being a Fellow, you are truly on the inside, where you can appreciate the competing pressures that federal agencies face.”

Completing a AAAS Fellowship confirmed Kevin’s interest in public service. He is now an economist at the Department of Health and Human Services. Kevin is also continuing his academic contributions to economic benefits analysis by writing a report on his fellowship project for publication in an economics journal.

Disclaimer: The perspectives and opinions expressed in the above articles do not necessarily reflect the views of AAAS, the Science & Technology Policy Fellowships, the U.S. Government, or the Environmental Protection Agency.

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