Case Studies / Army Base Makes BRAC History with Early Transfer Under Brownfields Cleanup Program
Army Base Makes BRAC History with Early Transfer Under Brownfields Cleanup Program
Army and California Gridlock Over Base Cleanup
Commissioned in 1941, the Oakland Army Base — a 425-acre property at the foot of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge — served as the Army's largest embarkation facility for sending soldiers and materials to Asia, beginning in World War II and continuing until the facility was declared surplus in 1995 in the second round of base closures under the Base Realignment and Closure Act. Although the Army reported it had spent more than $16 million on its sampling and underground tank removal programs, the Army and the California environmental oversight agencies had reached gridlock over a series of disputes over how regulatory requirements in the National Contingency Plan must be accomplished to achieve either pre-cleanup or post-cleanup transfer of the site to the Oakland Base Reuse Authority. At the heart of the dispute: how much site characterization was required before a remedy could be selected and implemented.
Brownfields Paradigm Applied to Successfully Complete Early Transfer Under CERCLA
One of the primary principles of Brownfields cleanups is that, inevitably, even NCP-compliant site characterization work that is completed before the demolition of buildings and other structures will fail to find all locations where soil has become contaminated by historic releases of hazardous substances. Extremely costly sampling programs, and extended regulatory debates about laboratory methodologies and detection levels, can stop a Brownfield reuse project in its tracks, for years.
Related Work on Surplus Military and Government Properties
Beveridge & Diamond has served as the lead land use and environmental counsel for numerous redevelopment projects involving surplus military or government properties, including for, example, the creation of a major mixed-use (residential, commercial, and retail) project on a former Navy base in Northern California for The Martin Group. Beveridge & Diamond served as environmental counsel for the investigation, subdivision, and purchase of a portion of a heavily contaminated former Air Force base on Long Island, New York to allow the construction of a multiplex cinema by our client, putting a significant portion of this large, environmentally impaired tract back to productive use. In addition, the Firm served as environmental and real estate counsel for the County of Nassau in acquiring a parcel of U.S. Navy property for development by the County Industrial Development Agency.