What Happens to a Closed-Down Auto Plant?

The bankruptcy of Chrysler may sound like good news to critics of American auto culture, but the resulting job losses and plant closures are poised to deal a serious blow to already-struggling midwestern towns. Which is why it’s heartening to see that the Obama administration is working on a plan to help clean up the land surrounding shuttered plants and give it back to its rightful owners in local communities.

chrys.jpgChrysler workers leaving a plant (Photo: New York Times)

Inside the EPA, a trade publication in Washington, reported this week that the government will pay for revitalizing closed auto plants that would otherwise be at risk for joining the list of environmentally blighted Superfund sites. "Local land use" will also be a priority in turning the sites back over for future use, according to the report.

Could we soon see parks or even bike trails being built where domestic manufacturing plants once stood? That change will be a long time coming, but at least the process has begun.

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