Site Remediation Reform Act 2.0
The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA), Brownfields Act, and Industrial Site Recovery Act govern the remediation of contaminated sites in NJ. SRRA, specifically, created the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) program, which enables licensed third parties (LSRPs) to remediate properties with DEP oversight. The program has been a tremendous success since its inception over 10 years ago and has resulted in over 10,000 contained sites being remediated. NJBA members engaged in brownfield remediation rely on the LSRP program to efficiently and effectively rehabilitate contaminated properties.
Last summer, DEP began a stakeholders’ process re-examining components of SRRA which focused on potential changes and proposals concerning green and sustainable remediation, Direct Oversight, Financial Assurance, Remediation Funding Source, surety bonds, LSRP of record requirements, enhancing public notification and access to files, and notification of discharges, among other topics. The most concerning proposal discussed in the stakeholders’ meetings was the potential amendment to require prospective purchasers to notify property owners of potential discharges during due diligence, which would have a severely chilling effect on transactions in the redevelopment market. NJBA believes the laws governing contamination should incentivize remediation and not encumber efforts to repurpose contaminated properties. This stakeholders’ process resulted in the introduction of S3682 (Smith) & A5293 (Pinkin).
After the legislation was introduced, NJBA continued to meet with legislators and testify in committees in support of and in opposition to various components of the legislation. On June 20, 2019, the Senate and Assembly voted to release the bill, 36-0 and 77-0-1, respectively. Critically, as a result of NJBA’s lobbying efforts the law DOES NOT include several severely damaging proposals that were considered during the stakeholders’ process. The bill was ultimately signed into law by Governor Murphy on August 23, 2019 as P.L. 2019, c.263. Click here to view the new law.
Stranded Asset Redevelopment Law
Throughout the state, many properties including many large suburban professional office parks and regional shopping malls have become underutilized, vacant, obsolete and difficult to market in today’s world, and as a result, they have become known as “stranded assets.” These stranded assets create an economic strain on the host community. The state should encourage private entities to work together with municipal governments to reposition these properties into fully utilized assets.
The new law will amend the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law to specify that a municipality may determine an area to be in need of redevelopment if the area contains buildings that are used as, or were previously used as, a shopping mall, a shopping plaza, or a professional office park, and the buildings have been partially vacant for at least two years. On January 17, 2019, NJBA-supported S1583 (Cruz-Perez) & A1700 (Dancer); NJBA was able to secure amendments on the Senate floor to clarify the conditions to meet this designation. The bill received unanimous legislative approval and was signed into law by Governor Murphy as P.L. 2019, c.229 on August 9, 2019. Click here to view the new law.