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Transcript: The EPA and AMA Partnership

February 2010 marks the fifth anniversary of the partnership between The Environmental Protection Agency and the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a partnership that finds cleaned up Superfund sites to be turned into flying fields for model airplanes.

This story details how one partnership contributes to EPA's overall goal of returning superfund sites to beneficial use.

Jim Woolford: We started redevelopment initiative with the idea of reusing the sites so the community would get a beneficial use ? we would not just clean up the site but the community would get a benefit from it. And then having people reuse the sites helps us maintain the remedy that we put in place. And people are on the site, they aren't just sitting there fallow. It provides economic and community benefits to the folks impacted by the sites.

Already 8 sites across the country are being used as flying fields and 9 more are under review.

In August 2008 the latest site had a grand opening at Auburn Road in Londonderry New Hampshire.

This alliance between the EPA and the AMA links communities that have Superfund sites to the expertise of the AMA in evaluating sites for potential reuse as flying fields.

And both the EPA and the AMA benefit immensely from the partnership.

Dave Brown: The ability to get more flying sites and to basically reclaim some land that has very little other use and to put it to good use, put it to a use that entertains people, that gives them things to do, constructive things, I think is beneficial to our society as a whole, it's certainly beneficial to the aero-modellers.

The AMA, which represents a membership of over 170,000, gets cherished new flying fields, increasingly harder and harder to come by.

What EPA gets is more subtle: the AMA clubs using the sites provide long-term stewardship for the sites. They care for the areas they use by doing things like re-seeding and mowing the grass; they also help to maintain fences that keep others out who might damage the sites and remedies.

Melissa Friedland: Communities have been burdened by the impacts of a superfund site; there may be stigma, there may be all kinds of problems associated with it, and what reuse does is it takes something that was a blight or that was a stigma, and it turns it into a benefit, into a net good. It turns it into something very positive. And it's turned it into something the community can use and be proud of.

Here's how this partnership works. The EPA provides the AMA with information so its clubs can find Superfund sites near them.

If the site's physical characteristics and remedy would support flying activities, the EPA helps broker a relationship between the club, the site owner and local community officials.

After that, it's up to the club. EPA's role becomes one of just assuring the local community that the site will support the AMA's use.

EPA hopes to establish similar partnerships with other organizations in need of places to conduct their activities. Best of all, the only requirement is that those activities not interfere with remedies at the sites.

Hopefully in the years to come, many more sites will be used to fly model airplanes. But we also hope to see many more types of activities on these sites.

Getting superfund sites back into reuse is good for everyone involved, and it's partnerships like the one between the EPA and the AMA that make that possible.

Contacts and credits

For more information:
EPA  -- Frank Avvisato, avvisato.frank@epa.gov
EPA – Melissa Friedland, friedland.melissa@epa.gov

For more information:
AMA – Joe Beshar, joebeshar@juno.com

To see more about Superfund and AMA (as well as additional EPA videos) go to the following address:

Superfund Site Reuse Update
EPA and AMA Partnership

Copyright 2010