Senate Overwhelmingly Approves Brownfields Recycling Bill

S. 350 Would Ease Real Estate Liability,

Provide Economic and Environmental Benefits



Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Real Estate Roundtable

    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Senate today voted 99-0 for
 bipartisan legislation (S. 350) to help transform thousands of mildly
 contaminated, abandoned brownfields sites into productive, tax-generating
 properties -- bringing economic and environmental benefits to communities
 across the country.
     S. 350, which was originally sponsored by Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI),
 Robert C. Smith (R-NH), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), enjoys
 strong support from President Bush, who called for national policies to
 encourage brownfields redevelopment in his recent budget address to Congress.
 Additionally, S. 350 has strong support from a broad array of public- and
 private-sector interest groups, including The Real Estate Roundtable, U.S.
 Conference of Mayors and Trust for Public Land.
     "Today's Senate vote represents a win for the environment, a win for
 responsible economic development and a win for communities struggling to
 overcome the stigma of environmental contamination," said Real Estate
 Roundtable Chairman Nelson C. Rising, who has testified before the Senate
 Environment Committee on this and other smart growth issues. Rising is
 chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based Catellus Development Corp.
     "If enacted, this legislation will go a long way toward removing the
 specter of Superfund liability from potential brownfields transactions and
 generate much needed economic investment in distressed communities," he added.
 In an Earth Day message posted to the Roundtable web site
 (http://www.rer.org ), Rising discusses the real estate industry's leadership
 on brownfields recycling issues and identifies opportunities to advance
 environmental and economic policy objectives simultaneously.
     Added Roundtable President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey D. DeBoer,
 "We applaud Senate lawmakers for acting to encourage private-sector investment
 in the nation's brownfields and look forward to similar action by the House."
 Key House lawmakers have said they intend to use S. 350 as a starting point
 for House brownfields legislation.
     Specifically, S. 350 would ease real estate owners' and prospective
 purchasers' environmental cleanup liability under the 1980 Superfund law --
 including the liability that faces landowners whose properties become
 contaminated by pollution migrating from adjacent sites.  Importantly, S. 350
 also would provide real estate owners with a greater sense of "finality" on
 voluntary brownfields cleanup projects approved by state authorities.
 Additionally, the bill would provide some financial incentives for the
 investigation and remediation of these types of sites.
     Under current law, companies that own or acquire brownfield sites are
 potentially liable for the entire cost of remediating any hazardous substances
 on those sites -- even if they did not cause any part of the pollution in
 question.  Thus, the threat of unlimited cleanup liability can potentially
 turn a $500,000 investment into a $10 million burden for would-be brownfield
 redevelopers -- and cause many of them to walk away from real estate
 transactions involving any degree of environmental contamination.
     Kevin P. Fitzpatrick, who is president of AIG Global Real Estate
 Investment Corp. and chair of the Roundtable's Environmental Policy Advisory
 Committee, testified before Senate lawmakers last year that the kinds of
 regulatory and financial incentives included in S. 350 would encourage greater
 reuse of existing properties and support local community efforts to address
 sprawl.  Business, municipal and environmental groups have all pointed out
 that uncertainty regarding possible Superfund liability remains a factor
 favoring developments outside of urbanized areas into so-called greenfields.
     Other Real Estate Roundtable members who have testified before Congress on
 brownfields issues are John S. Gates, Jr., president and CEO of CenterPoint
 Properties (Chicago); and Virginia S. Gorday, senior vice president of
 operations at The Portman Companies (Atlanta).
     Experts estimate there are approximately 400,000 mildly contaminated
 brownfield sites throughout the U.S. that could be returned to productive,
 economic use if the underlying environmental issues were addressed in ways
 that make recovery efforts cost-effective.
     The Real Estate Roundtable is the organization where leaders of the
 nation's top public and privately held real estate ownership, development,
 lending and management firms work together with the leaders of major national
 real estate trade associations to jointly address key national policy issues
 relating to real estate and the overall economy. Collectively, Roundtable
 members hold portfolios containing over 2.5 billion square feet of developed
 property valued at more than $250 billion.  Participating trade associations
 represent more than 1 million people involved in virtually every aspect of the
 real estate business.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X96318738
 
 

SOURCE Real Estate Roundtable
    WASHINGTON, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Senate today voted 99-0 for
 bipartisan legislation (S. 350) to help transform thousands of mildly
 contaminated, abandoned brownfields sites into productive, tax-generating
 properties -- bringing economic and environmental benefits to communities
 across the country.
     S. 350, which was originally sponsored by Senators Lincoln Chafee (R-RI),
 Robert C. Smith (R-NH), Harry Reid (D-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), enjoys
 strong support from President Bush, who called for national policies to
 encourage brownfields redevelopment in his recent budget address to Congress.
 Additionally, S. 350 has strong support from a broad array of public- and
 private-sector interest groups, including The Real Estate Roundtable, U.S.
 Conference of Mayors and Trust for Public Land.
     "Today's Senate vote represents a win for the environment, a win for
 responsible economic development and a win for communities struggling to
 overcome the stigma of environmental contamination," said Real Estate
 Roundtable Chairman Nelson C. Rising, who has testified before the Senate
 Environment Committee on this and other smart growth issues. Rising is
 chairman and CEO of San Francisco-based Catellus Development Corp.
     "If enacted, this legislation will go a long way toward removing the
 specter of Superfund liability from potential brownfields transactions and
 generate much needed economic investment in distressed communities," he added.
 In an Earth Day message posted to the Roundtable web site
 (http://www.rer.org ), Rising discusses the real estate industry's leadership
 on brownfields recycling issues and identifies opportunities to advance
 environmental and economic policy objectives simultaneously.
     Added Roundtable President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey D. DeBoer,
 "We applaud Senate lawmakers for acting to encourage private-sector investment
 in the nation's brownfields and look forward to similar action by the House."
 Key House lawmakers have said they intend to use S. 350 as a starting point
 for House brownfields legislation.
     Specifically, S. 350 would ease real estate owners' and prospective
 purchasers' environmental cleanup liability under the 1980 Superfund law --
 including the liability that faces landowners whose properties become
 contaminated by pollution migrating from adjacent sites.  Importantly, S. 350
 also would provide real estate owners with a greater sense of "finality" on
 voluntary brownfields cleanup projects approved by state authorities.
 Additionally, the bill would provide some financial incentives for the
 investigation and remediation of these types of sites.
     Under current law, companies that own or acquire brownfield sites are
 potentially liable for the entire cost of remediating any hazardous substances
 on those sites -- even if they did not cause any part of the pollution in
 question.  Thus, the threat of unlimited cleanup liability can potentially
 turn a $500,000 investment into a $10 million burden for would-be brownfield
 redevelopers -- and cause many of them to walk away from real estate
 transactions involving any degree of environmental contamination.
     Kevin P. Fitzpatrick, who is president of AIG Global Real Estate
 Investment Corp. and chair of the Roundtable's Environmental Policy Advisory
 Committee, testified before Senate lawmakers last year that the kinds of
 regulatory and financial incentives included in S. 350 would encourage greater
 reuse of existing properties and support local community efforts to address
 sprawl.  Business, municipal and environmental groups have all pointed out
 that uncertainty regarding possible Superfund liability remains a factor
 favoring developments outside of urbanized areas into so-called greenfields.
     Other Real Estate Roundtable members who have testified before Congress on
 brownfields issues are John S. Gates, Jr., president and CEO of CenterPoint
 Properties (Chicago); and Virginia S. Gorday, senior vice president of
 operations at The Portman Companies (Atlanta).
     Experts estimate there are approximately 400,000 mildly contaminated
 brownfield sites throughout the U.S. that could be returned to productive,
 economic use if the underlying environmental issues were addressed in ways
 that make recovery efforts cost-effective.
     The Real Estate Roundtable is the organization where leaders of the
 nation's top public and privately held real estate ownership, development,
 lending and management firms work together with the leaders of major national
 real estate trade associations to jointly address key national policy issues
 relating to real estate and the overall economy. Collectively, Roundtable
 members hold portfolios containing over 2.5 billion square feet of developed
 property valued at more than $250 billion.  Participating trade associations
 represent more than 1 million people involved in virtually every aspect of the
 real estate business.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X96318738
 
 SOURCE  Real Estate Roundtable