1998 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Eilmcg <Eilmcg@aol.com>
Date: 16 Jan 1998 10:51:14
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Article: New use for tainted land (fwd)

does anyone know where i can get more information on the specifics of the law referred to here?  is anyone out there working in nj who i could communicate with about the implications?  


Eileen McGurty

New use for tainted land
Published Thursday, January 8, 1998, in the Miami Herald
New Jersey seeks to lure developers 

New York Times Service
EDGEWATER, N.J. -- Gov. Christie Whitman has signed a bill that is 
intended to entice developers to build on thousands of pollution-tainted 
industrial sites around the state. The law, some developers and 
urban planners said, could spur urban renewal by shifting the 
construction of new commercial buildings and housing from suburbs to 
places like downtown Newark, Trenton or long-abandoned spots along the 
Hudson River waterfront. The bill was opposed by some New Jersey 
environmental groups for giving too much control over the extent of a 
cleanup to the companies responsible for polluting a site and for 
limiting public access to cleanup plans. But Whitman rejected the criticisms
and a call for a conditional veto, saying the bill would both protect the
environment and help bring new economic activity to longdormant polluted 
lands called brownfields around the state. ``Today hundreds of these sites
lie fallow, a blight and burden to the state of New Jersey,'' Whitman 
said. ``We must make reusing brownfields truly worth the effort. Today we 
begin to do just that.'' The bill creates tax incentives equal to up to 
three-fourths of the cost of cleaning a site and offers a cash credit to 
small developers who test new technologies for sealing off or eliminating 
pollution. But the most important provision of the new law, according to 
several developers and urban planners, exempts anyone who buys and 
restores one of the 8,800 tainted sites in New Jersey from any new cleanup 
costs once state environmental officials approve the job. A buyer of 
a tainted tract can also be protected from private lawsuits related to 
past pollution problems if a cleanup is approved by the 
state Department of Environmental Protection and completed promptly. The 
prospect of lawsuits and the lack of clearly defined costs in fixing 
a site -- whether heavily or lightly polluted -- have until now 
discouraged potential buyers, said Ronald Bruder, chairman of Dames & 
Moore/Brookhill Corp., a New York City real-estate and engineering 
company that has bought tainted sites in dozens of states but until now 
not in New Jersey or New York.``The issue has always been certainty -- to be
able to say for certain to your lender that this cleanup is going to cost 
$5  million,'' Bruder said. Until the signing of the bill in New Jersey, 
there was always the prospect of new cleanup orders and more costs, he 
said, adding that New York and Connecticut still lacked similar 
laws. ``Now in New Jersey at least you have a rational way of going 
forward,'' Bruder said. ``Our appetite there is much stronger than it was 
a  week ago. Probably in a year we'll have some things going there.''Some 
representatives of private environmental groups said they planned to 
push for revisions to the law in the new legislative session, saying 
that too many controls and standards for cleanups of polluted tracts 
were weakened. Picture: Download PointCast FREE! - Click Here! Picture: 
[IMAGEMA=P] Copyright 1998 The Miami Herald Getting in touch with 
HERALD link <Picture> People Organizing to Demand Environmental Rights (PODER) 
474 Valencia Street, Suite 155 San Francisco, CA  94103 PH: (415) 431-4210 poder@igc.org

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