Boost in Great Lakes Property Values Post-Pollution Cleanup

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TL/DR –

A research study from the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability found that property values around the Great Lakes increased as pollution remediation efforts, such as sediment removal and wetland restoration, increased. These efforts, funded by federal grants, resulted in an average property value increase of $27,295 per home. The study’s authors hope to gain access to a second database of Great Lakes property data from the Environmental Protection Agency for further research and emphasize the economic benefits of environmental restoration, as the $8.7 billion increase in property values greatly outweighs the $2.1 million cost of remediation efforts.


Increased Property Values Around Great Lakes Due To Pollution Remediation

A study by the University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability reveals rising property values around the Great Lakes, linked to increasing pollution remediation efforts, including contaminated sediment removal, wetland restoration and shoreline cleanup. 

The study focused on Areas of Concern within Great Lake shoreline communities in the U.S. and Canada, designated during the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Due to federally funded pollution remediation, property values increased by an average of $27,295 per house.

Study co-author and environmental economics professor, Michael Moore, highlighted the need for a comprehensive database incorporating the costs of preservation efforts in property value estimates. He stated, “We are trying to get an expanded database where we can think about the housing market, as the medium through which the environmental benefits of restoration can get captured through this capitalization of property values.”

Moore emphasized the study’s success in showing the financial benefits outweighed the costs. “The benefits of $8.7 billion (property cost values totaled) outweigh the remediation costs of $2.1 million, which makes for a four to one ratio,” Moore said. He expressed hope that the Environmental Protection Agency will grant access to a second database of Great Lakes property data for continuing the study.

Alecia Cassidy, study co-author, mentioned the potential benefits of pollution remediation efforts on AOC homeowners. “Federal money can make a real difference to revitalizing these areas,” Cassidy said.

Steven Driest, policy chair for Students for Clean Energy, found the increased property values resulting from remediation efforts promising for the strength of local economies. He also emphasized the benefits of such studies in gaining public approval for pollution remediation efforts.

“If you can explain the derived economic benefits, you have a greater chance of garnering broad public approval. This is an approach that clean energy advocates need to take as utility-scale solar and wind is now officially the cheapest form of energy generation,” Driest said.


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