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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: January 13, 2023 12:51 PM
From: Senator Rosemary M. Brown
To: All Senate members
Subject: Extending Environmental Liability Protections to Land Banks
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation, similar to Senate Bill 1282 of 2021-22 legislative session, that would grant land banks the same environmental protections other economic development agencies are granted when dealing with brownfields.
During the Urban Affairs and Housing Committee hearings held in Philadelphia and Kittanning last legislative session, the Committee heard from local community actors, including land banks. One of the recurring themes during those hearings was the need to extend environmental liability protections to land banks. 
Land banks are governmental entities that acquire vacant, abandoned, and foreclosed properties to support the redevelopment of property for the benefit of the local community. It is not uncommon for land banks to take properties into their inventory that are subject to environmental liability enforcement.

To incentivize the funding of environmental testing and remediation of brownfields sites, current statue exempts certain entities from environmental liability. Economic development agencies, which include redevelopment authorities, municipal authorities, and other government and community-based entities, are exempt from liability.

This legislation would grant the same protections to land banks that are presently given to redevelopment authorities when they are dealing with brownfields. This would relieve land banks of this burden and allow them to operate more efficiently in the fight against blight.

If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov.  Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB466