Getting Dirty to Get Clean: Managing Environmental Liabilities when Siting Renewable Energy Projects on Brownfields
Presentation Description: As finding suitable locations to site renewable energy projects becomes increasingly challenging, developers are looking more frequently at siting projects on distressed properties, known as Brownfields. Brownfields may include current or former landfills, coal-fired power plant sites, reclaimed coal mines, former industrial parks, and even oil and gas producing properties with known contamination. The environmental issues associated with Brownfields are very different from the typical wildlife and wetlands issues that many developers are used to dealing with, and the potential liabilities can be significant. Brownfields liabilities are both more familiar and often more concerning to potential lenders and investors. This presentation will provide an overview of environmental liabilities associated with Brownfields under the federal CERCLA, RCRA, and SMCRA and related state statutes. It will also discuss the benefits and limitations of the array of state and federal Brownfields programs available to manage those liabilities, including EPA’s Repowering America’s Land Initiative, comfort letter policy, and bona fide prospective purchaser defense, and state voluntary cleanup and innocent owner programs.