President Donald Trump wants to make America great again by removing bureaucratic roadblocks and regulatory red tape. He could focus on hundreds of thousands of acres effectively trapped in limbo by the federal government, unable to be used by the communities around them to generate tax revenue. In some of the worst cases, they pose a risk to public health and safety.
For example, on the banks of the Delaware River in Northeast Philadelphia lies the former Frankford Arsenal, a U.S. Army ammunition plant closed in 1977. In 1983, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation sold nearly all of the property to a private developer. Forty years later, most of the land remains undeveloped with little federal funding for clean-up and unfinished studies of lead-contaminated soil at the site.

Or consider the case of the Nansemond Ordnance Depot in Suffolk, Virginia, 975 acres of land along the James River. Closed since 1960, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed it on the “National Priority List” in 1999, after crystalline explosives were discovered on the campus of a local college. Today, the property remains vacant with deteriorated shorelines and wetlands threatening a nearby interstate bridge structure. The risk to public safety is persistent and growing.