Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Jodi Rell - The Enviornmental Governor

Governor Rell, In Ceremony, Signs Brownfields Bill

In a ceremony in Waterbury today, Governor M. Jodi Rell signed a bill establishing an office to help towns identify, clean up, and redevelop brownfield sites. A brownfield is an economically underutilized parcel of land that sits unused due to complications with contamination, blight, or other environmental issues.

The law establishes a “one-stop shop,” for property owners and potential property owners to facilitate compliance with state and federal clean up requirements and qualification for state funds. It sets up an office within the Department of Economic and Community Development called the Office of Brownfield Remediation and Development, and creates a task force to develop long-term solutions for cleaning up and redeveloping brownfields. The task force must report its findings and recommendations to the Environment and Commerce committees by January 1.

“I know how important brownfield redevelopment is to this city and its future,” Governor Rell said during the ceremony at the Virjune Manufacturing brownfield site on Chapel Street in Waterbury. “There are hundreds of brownfield sites in Waterbury, and they present a critical barrier to business growth in the city. There is a lack of space available for business expansion.

“We have brownfields all over our state. It is important for future generations that we redevelop brownfields instead of developing pristine open space and farmland.

“Fear of environmental liabilities has deterred investors from buying and remediating available land. This new law addresses that fear.”

The law provides various regulatory and financial incentives for parties that clean up and protects these parties from liability if they acquire a contaminated site from a town or its development agency. It also sets conditions under which the owners of existing manufacturing facilities qualify for clean up dollars.

“This law gives us another tool to promote brownfield cleanup activities and removes barriers that stand in the way of redevelopment,” Governor Rell said. “This progress is just the beginning: We will continue to do all we can to streamline the clean up process. Cities like Bridgeport and Waterbury have made their voices heard.”

More information can be found at www.ctbrownfields.com .

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