Earlier this week the Pennsylvania Convention Center hosted Brownfields 2011, a sustainability conference hosted by the EPA and ICMA. The three day conference focused on brownfields remediation and the importance of sustainability throughout all projects. I attended the conference Monday, and was amazed by the amount of information available and the wide variety of educational programs presented to attendees.
Monday morning keynote speaker and EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, shared her thoughts on the state of the EPA, the Brownfields Program and sustainability with conference attendees. She explained that while some of the discussions in Washington D.C. regarding the EPA become heated, the debate is necessary.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve faced obstacles. I can tell you, from my experience, that times like these remind us what we’ve come here to do. And that is to uphold the environmental laws of this country and protect the health of the people,” said Jackson. “What has always made a difference in tough times is that the people of this country know the importance of clean air and clean water and clean communities.”
“As of March 2011, the National EPA Brownfields Program has assessed or cleaned up more than 17,500 properties, helped create close to 70,000 jobs and leveraged more than $16 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funds,” said Jackson. “Thank you for the role you play in revitalizing our communities and making our nation more sustainable. I’m glad to be here with you today to recognize those contributions.”
Other speakers included the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter and EPA administrator of solid waste and emergency services, Mathy Stanislaus. Following the keynote session attendees broke into a wide variety of mobile workshops, films, training workshops and educational sessions. Topics included, state and local issues, environmental news, legal responsibilities for brownfields, community engagement, revitalization, sustainable planning, redevelopment technologies and more.
Feel free to read Lisa Jackson’s full speech or to visit the Brownfields 2011 website to learn more. Additionally, if you work for a health care facility and are looking to increase your sustainability efforts, complete the form below to learn about our limited time FREE sustainability audits!