Coakley amends Massachusetts Brownfields program

Drew Smith Oct. 9, 2008, 11:59am

Martha Coakley (D)

BOSTON(Legal Newsline) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley says she has amended the state's Brownfields Covenant Program in order to incentivize the redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized properties.

The program, which has been in existence since 1999, promotes environmental cleanup and economic development.

Coakley claims the amended regulations will streamline the application process for future agreements and create new incentives for redevelopment.

"These changes will make the process for acquiring Brownfield Covenants more efficient, and will clarify for developers and communities alike how these tools can work to spur redevelopment," Coakley said. "Our goal has been to make the Brownfields Covenant Regulations more responsive to the realities of site cleanup and development, while not compromising on environmental standards

The brownfields program also provides liability protections to individuals or companies with redevelopment projects on contaminated properties.

The amended regulations to the program include the following changes:

- Reduces the public comment period from 90 to 45 days for applicants who did not cause or contribute to the contamination;

-Clarifies public notice requirements, agreement criteria, and rights of affected third parties and public;

-Eliminates certain procedural barriers to brownfields Covenants for sites with the most difficult cleanups;

-Creates a more user-friendly, timely and predictable process.

The amendment to the program is part of the Regulatory Review Initiative, a 2007 plan by Coakley and Gov. Deval Patrick to make state regulations more user-friendly and predictable.

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