Environmental Planning is becoming more prevalent and is more important now that pollution poses a very serious threat. The goals are to minimize threats to human life and health, preserving natural resources, and minimizing damage for the environment’s sake. A lot of environmental problems must be dealt with at the federal level. The US’s attention to environmental quality has grown a lot over the years and they spend billions of dollars to improve it. Sometimes, however, environmental regulation can cause people to “win” or “lose”. For example, if a shoreline is protected and a certain area becomes restricted from developing residential areas any further, the people who already live there “win” because their property becomes worth much more, but the people who want to buy property cannot, and so they “lose”.
Regulations can sometimes cause negative side effects. A good example of this is Superfund which said to designate contaminated sites and if a site has pollution or waste from a previous owner, the current owner is required to bring it up to standard. So if a potential buyer finds out that a site he wants to buy is contaminated, it will definitely cause him to think twice before buying the property. This will also cause the bank not to want to buy the property because they would have to fix it first. The terms greenfields and brownfields came from Superfund liabilities. Greenfields are rural sites that have not been used for industrial or commercial reasons but brownfields are. Brownfields pose a liability and cause people to go toward suburban and rural sites.
Planning at the local way is another way to make a contribution towards environmental quality. Some ways to do so are by:
- Controlling the intensity of development
- Controlling the type of development
- Controlling the location of development
- Public capital investment
- Control of the operation once development is complete
An example of this is the issue of disposing of solid waste. It can be disposed of in landfills, burned, or dumped. Landfills pose a threat to contamination of groundwater so it usually isn’t disposed of there. Burning causes fear of reduced air quality. In order to determine what to do, the community comes up with a planning approach that consists of :
- Establishing the dimensions of the problem
- Preliminary discussion of other disposal methods
- Cost estimates
- Site selection
It is usually most difficult to actually select the site because there is always opposition in the form of protests, letters, meetings, newspapers, etc.
These are just some of the many problems that can occur when it comes to environmental planning. A law or rule is always met with some kind of opposition or criticism for valid reasons, however one should make sure that the environmental law is even more valid.
“Solid Waste Management (SWM) Planning.” Solid Waste Management (SWM) Planning – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/47861.html.
Levy, John M.. Contemporary urban planning. 2017.