Volunteering for State Cleanup Programs

EPA Grant Number: R832154
Title: Volunteering for State Cleanup Programs
Investigators: Wernstedt, Kris , Blackman, Allen , Lyon, Thomas
Institution: Resources for the Future
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: November 1, 2004 through October 31, 2006
Project Amount: $275,072
RFA: Corporate Environmental Behavior and the Effectiveness of Government Interventions (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice


Despite the availability in most states of programs for the voluntary cleanup of properties that are contaminated with hazardous substances—and a record of thousands of sites in these programs—we know little about the factors that influence enrollment in the programs. Our objectives are to improve understanding in the research and state and local practitioner communities of 1) the motivations of public and private entities to enter voluntary cleanup programs, 2) features of voluntary cleanup programs that appear most attractive to program participants and most effective to state officials, and 3) the relationship between motivations for participation and characteristics of enrolled properties (land use, market value of property, cleanup costs), community demographics (income, education, political engagement), and participants (property interest in site, public or private entity, organizational size).


Our three-part study investigates the role of regulatory, market, and social pressures for motivating voluntary cleanups. The 1st phase entails three detailed case studies of existing state voluntary cleanup programs. These examinations rely on document review and interviews of state program officials, local officials, and public and private participants. The 2nd phase, a national telephone survey of voluntary cleanup program officials, tests the generalities from the case studies, highlights program rationales, and allows comparisons of attitudes about program features between program administrators and participants. This work also provides grounding and, using principal components analysis, a program typology for our web-survey of program participants in the third part of the study. In this 3rd phase, we pose Likert-scaled attitudinal questions to program participants and use factor analysis to identify underlying motivations. We then use regression analysis to examine the relationship between these motivations and the characteristics of the participants, enrolled sites, and community demographics.

Expected Results:

Our analysis will help identify the motivations of different types of parties who participate in voluntary cleanup program and the variables that influence these motivations. Such results directly address the solicitation’s goals of understanding the behavior of regulated and non-regulated entities across a range of “corporate” settings (private and public) at the state and local levels. The work will both add to the literature on voluntary corporate behavior and identify gaps in policy and practice and site and community considerations that may help state and local officials target their programs more efficiently. It also will create a database on voluntarily remediated sites that will be useful for future research.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

contaminated sites, groundwater, land, soil, liability relief, local economic development, regulatory reform, decision making, community revitalization, sustainable development, psychological, regulatory reform, risk-based cleanup, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, decision-making, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, Psychology, hazardous waste management, coalition formation, collaborative decision making, environmental decision making, decision making, advocacy coalition framework, environmental values, environmental attitudes, environmental policy, community participation, psychological attitudes, behavior change, activism, voluntary programs

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final