PEC Applauds Signing of Brownfields Law

Brian Hill, President and CEO of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, issued this statement in response to Governor Rendell signing House Bill 43 into law as Act 68.  The bill was sponsored by Representative Carole Rubley (R-Chester/Montgomery), which establishes uniform environmental covenants in Pennsylvania to facilitate remediation and prevent the misuse of contaminated properties.

“Although other important environmental issues took the spotlight in this legislative session, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council wants to recognize and express our appreciation to Representative Rubley, members of the General Assembly, and the Governor for enactment of legislation to further advance brownfield remediation in Pennsylvania.

“Our state is already nationally recognized as a leader in brownfield redevelopment; Act 68 provides greater certainty to these efforts by addressing common law problems associated with land use agreements for these sites.  This new law will also strengthen the enforceability of environmental cleanup agreements, and help the Department of Environmental Protection ensure that such agreements contain sufficient health protections for Pennsylvanians.

“We commend Representative Rubley for her leadership on this issue that is of critical importance to our communities and our environment.”

John Ubinger, Partner with the law firm Jones Day and member of the PEC Board of Directors, further noted: “”The enactment of the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act in Pennsylvania is an important complement to the Pennsylvania Act 2 Land
Recycling Program as well as other site remediation projects in Pennsylvania.  In addition to overcoming some historic legal limitations on the validity and enforceability of long-term covenants that limit uses or activities conducted on land, this legislation will provide more consistency across the Commonwealth with respect to the form, content,
clarity and transparency of these recorded documents.  In some cases, the covenants authorized by this legislation may be an important factor in the reuse of a brownfield site.”