Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 6, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says Kentucky has Brownfield Program to redevelop old contaminated sites and put them back into productive use.

Brownfields are industrial and commercial sites that are abandoned or unused because of actual or perceived environmental contamination. Often these sites are in urban areas that could be redeveloped, but due to potential liability, developers seek out unused property, or “greenfields,” on which to build.

Because an owner of land contaminated with hazardous substances can be held liable for the cost to clean up the land under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), potential purchasers are reluctant to buy Brownfield sites.  

Federal and state programs have created incentives to encourage voluntary clean up and reuse of Brownfields by state and local governments and private parties. The incentives include grants, waivers of liability, and tax incentives.

 Prospective buyers, lenders, insurers, and developers can employ private mechanisms to manage environmental liability risks associated with Brownfields. Indemnification provisions, which are contractual mechanisms in which one party promises to shield another from liability, can be used to assign responsibility for cleanup costs among the various parties.

Private parties also can purchase environmental insurance policies to decrease the financial risk of getting involved with Brownfields.

There are an estimated 8,000 Brownfield sites in the Bluegrass state, and the Kentucky Brownfield Program is working to get those properties back into productive use.  While the approximate number of Brownfields is known, their locations are not all known. 

The Kentucky Brownfield Program has created an inventory of sites in order to market the properties to those interested in Brownfield redevelopment.  The Kentucky Brownfield Program is working to promote the redevelopment of these sites by helping to remove barriers that prevent reuse, providing useful information to communities, developers and the public and encouraging a climate that fosters redevelopment of contaminated sites.

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