Profiles In Leadership Series: Part 3

Profiles in Leadership Series

David Lloyd, Director, Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

March 25, 2013

This series outlines the experience, ideas, and advice learned over considerable time devoted to environmental progress in our nation. Our third column features David Lloyd, Director, Office of Brownfields and Revitalization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Road to EPA

David Lloyd began his career in private law practice in Nevada, where he grew up. He decided that he would return to Washington, DC where he attended law school and was able to obtain a position in EPA’s Office of General Counsel. Formerly a real estate attorney in private practice, he knew he would need grounding in environmental issues and was open-minded towards a public-sector practice of law.

David found that he really enjoyed working for EPA. At the time, the Agency was building new offices and laboratories in the Research Triangle Park, Northern Virginia, Denver, Colorado, and Michigan. The Office of General Counsel enjoyed a very strong relationship with its client as these new buildings were developed.

David counts the green building, LEED-certified offices at the EPA laboratories, regional office in December, and Potomac Yards as accomplishments, as well as collaborating with so many great people along the way.

Learnings

David found that he underestimated the skill level and strong work ethic of EPA employees. He had wrongly assumed that they would be less motivated than private sector employees.

He also learned that the web of relationships between the federal government, states, communities, other executive branch agencies, and Congress was essential. You can’t be successful without these alliances. He had incorrectly thought that just becoming a subject matter expert was enough. These relationships are essential.

Finally, he learned how much of a positive impact the federal government can have when engaged in the right way. Its problem-solving attitude can accomplish almost any goal.

Issues Going Forward

The critical issue facing the Brownfields program at present is working to ensure our available funding is as available and effective as possible in light of constrained budgets and increasing demand. This sequester is causing a serious examination of how best to be problem-solvers at the state and local level, given these limitations.

Some programs are based strictly on the stated directive of a statute or regulation. However, programs like Brownfields must be creative, flexible and helpful in order to garner and maintain the public and Congress’ support.

The government also needs to continue to work at succession planning and workforce development. Finding nonmonetary things that employees would be attracted to, such as flexible schedules and commuting options, will help build and retain the workforce of the future.

State and Federal Relationships

The Brownfields program views the states and tribal governments as essential. Without the state and tribal response programs, there is no mechanism to supervise cleanups to ensure they are complete and protective of the environment and public health and, as such, they are the backbone of the Brownfields program. The federal program is critically important and has been very successful, but we need to continue to recognize the immense contributions of states and tribes to this success. The involvement of states, tribes, local governments, and nonprofit organizations working with the private sector under the Federal Brownfield statutory umbrella is the reason brownfields cleanup and redevelopment has expanded so widely and rapidly.

Advice to Stakeholders

David has three pieces of advice to stakeholders looking at a property for cleanup and redevelopment.

First, engage the affected people in the community to find out what they really need and want from the redeveloped property.

Second, reach out as early as possible to the Brownfields staff in the EPA regional office and with the state or tribal environmental programs. Let them work with you to avoid liability issues, assist with developers, and aid with financing.

Third, always keep the end goal in mind, of cleaning and redeveloping property for the benefit of the affected community.

Problems arise when developers don’t attract capital, have angry neighbors, and don’t involve the appropriate environmental programs.

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