CT Unveils Plans for a Release-Based Program While Making Changes to the Transfer Act
December 1, 2020
Release-Based Cleanup Program
On October 2, 2020, the Governor of Connecticut signed legislation authorizing the development of a future “release-based” remediation program that will eventually replace the Transfer Act. The Transfer Act requires the investigation and remediation of certain “Establishments” upon a transfer in ownership of the property or associated businesses. The Transfer Act was originally passed in 1985 and, since that time, has often been seen as an impediment to the redevelopment and clean-up of environmentally impaired properties.
The framework for the release-based program is being developed by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) with input from working groups and various community stakeholders. Once the program takes effect, remediation obligations will no longer be tied to a transfer of the property or business but to releases when they are discovered. Although the new program is under development, at this time, it appears that properties that have already been entered into the Transfer Act program would still need to meet those obligations through closure.
Transfer Act Amendments
On October 2, the Governor also signed a bill to further amend the Transfer Act. While the transition to a release-based program could be a few years off, these amendments make some interim improvements to the current program. Key changes include:
Excluding “universal waste” from the definition of “hazardous waste” when evaluating the applicability of the Transfer Act;
Limiting investigation and remediation requirements at a new (filed after October 1, 2020) Transfer Act site to the environmental footprint of the Establishment, rather than the entire property;
Excluding a change in the name of a Limited Liability Corporation [LLC] as a trigger for a Transfer Act filing;
Consolidating various exceptions related to properties already enrolled in other DEEP programs;
Providing less onerous obligations for certain transfers of residential, commercial, and industrial tenants in common interest communities; and
Increasing the threshold for applicability of the Transfer Act for a business interest from 40% to greater than 50%.
Verdantas’ staff include multiple Connecticut Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs), Professional Geologists, Environmental Engineers, and other professionals with extensive experience working with the Transfer Act and other State and federal regulatory programs. We work closely with our clients to help them develop practical, strategic solutions for their properties and have been successful in bringing a number of Transfer Act projects through closure.
Please give us a call if you have any questions about the evolving Connecticut regulatory environment or to understand how these regulatory changes could affect plans for your property.
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