SILVER SPRING, MD.—The Institute of Brownfield Professionals’ Registered Brownfield Professional (R.B.P.) designation is no longer limited to licensed professionals. By unanimous vote, the Institute of Brownfield Professionals’ board of directors accepted the recommendations of a multi-stakeholder advisory committee and opened the R.B.P. designation to college graduates with five years of relevant experience. Previously, the designation was available only to licensed engineers, licensed geologists, and others who were "licensed, certified, or otherwise recognized (to the satisfaction of the board of directors) as an environmental professional (e.g., ’Licensed Site Professional’) by the federal government or by a state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, tribe, or a U.S. territory."
According to Institute Executive Director John P. Bachner, "We wanted to move slowly on this element of recognition, because it’s at such variance with criteria established by the Environmental Protection Agency." Those criteria confer the title "environmental professional" on individuals who claim to possess the "specific education, training, and experience necessary to exercise professional judgment to develop opinions and conclusions regarding conditions indicative of releases or threatened releases on, at, in, or to a property," and who have at least "the equivalent of 10 years of full-time relevant experience." A high-school diploma is not required.
The college degree the Institute requires must be in a discipline of engineering or science (such as biology, toxicology, or environmental management) or in a related field approved by the Institute’s board. For a candidate’s experience to be "relevant," the individual must have "designed exploration programs undertaken in furtherance of environmental evaluations; evaluated and characterized subsurface and other samples obtained as part of exploration programs undertaken in furtherance of environmental evaluations; developed site-specific remediation plans; and served as principal author of reports detailing results of exploration programs undertaken in furtherance of environmental evaluations." Candidates must also "identify at least four projects where the relevant experience was gained, and, using no more than 250 words per project, describe the specific activities" performed.
Information submitted by R.B.P. applicants is verified by Institute staff. "We take this program extremely seriously," Bachner said. "Even today, we are plagued by organizations that award environmental designations to virtually anyone willing to spend a few dollars. Our goal has been to establish a meaningful designation that is recognized throughout North America. A casual approach is not acceptable."
The new criteria are published on the Institute’s website (www.brownfieldpros.org). Bachner said that the advisory committee is now looking into continuing education requirements.