[The following information was taken from a press release provided by Senator Pavley's office].
A proposal bill authored by Senator Fran Pavley to help local government cleanup and sell brownfield development sites was approved by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee Monday.
Due to the elimination of redevelopment agencies (RDAs), local government must dispose of properties owned by those former agencies. SB 1335 would authorize local governments to temporarily retain brownfield properties and allow those agencies to cleanup and possibly develop those challenging properties prior to their eventual sale.
Brownfields are lands previously used for industrial or commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by hazardous waste or pollution, but has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up. Prior to their dissolution, RDAs led the way in brownfield remediation. In Region 9 of the U.S. EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency), the majority of brownfield remediation grants and loans awarded in California went to the RDAs.
“This bill corrects one of the unintended consequences resulting from the legislation and subsequent court decision which eliminated RDAs,” said Senator Pavley, “Brownfield properties, depending on the type of contamination and the range of possible uses, can be very challenging to sell due to liability concerns.”
Senator Pavley said, “If allowed to retain and remediate brownfields prior to selling the assets, the economic return for local agencies could be increased.
Because of the liability associated with brownfields, it would be unlikely local government could maximize the value of brownfield properties owned by former RDAs, as required by current law. In many cases these properties could actually be liabilities to local government instead of being an asset to their community."