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Drive to Clean, Reuse Toxic ‘Brownfields’ Gains Backing

A defunct oil-pumping facility on Ocean Front Walk was held up Tuesday as an example of how urban “brownfields"--vacant properties that have possibly been contaminated by industrial activities--need to be refurbished.

Damson Oil Co.'s one-acre site next to the vacant Venice Pavilion was abandoned nine years ago, and is now surrounded by a 20-foot-high wall, said George Brewster, executive director of the California Center for Land Recycling.

The nonprofit organization, which held a news conference at the site Tuesday, is helping city Parks and Recreation officials determine how to clean up any contamination remaining from 25 years of oil-pumping there.

Mike Bonin, a deputy for Venice-area City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, said the city has accrued $800,000 from a settlement with Damson Oil to spend on cleanup and development of the site. One proposal is to create a roller-skating park at the location.

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Officials of the land recycling group also called on politicians and businesses Tuesday to make brownfield redevelopment a priority in California, which they said has more than 40,000 unused brownfield locations.


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