HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Senate has approved Senate Bill 1282, which seeks to amend the state’s Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act to extend environmental liability protections to land banks, announced the bill’s prime sponsor, Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41).
“This legislation would grant land banks the same environmental protections other economic development agencies are granted when dealing with brownfields,” said Pittman, who chairs the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee. “During our Urban Affairs and Housing Committee hearings in Philadelphia and Kittanning, we heard from local community actors, including land banks. One of the recurring themes during those hearings was the need to extend environmental liability protections to land banks.”
Land banks are governmental entities that acquire vacant, abandoned and foreclosed properties to support the redevelopment of property for the benefit of the local community. It is not uncommon for land banks to take properties into their inventory that are subject to environmental liability enforcement.
To incentivize the funding of environmental testing and remediation of brownfields sites, current statute exempts certain entities from environmental liability. Economic development agencies, which include redevelopment authorities, municipal authorities and other government and community-based entities, are exempt from environmental liability.
“SB 1282 would grant the same protections to land banks that are presently given to other economic development agencies when they are dealing with brownfields,” Pittman said. “This would relieve land banks of this burden and allow them to operate more efficiently in the fight against blight.”
The legislation now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
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