Legislation to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Sites Clears Committee
SB 820 removes sunset for California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act, helps state continue pushing redevelopment of blighted properties
SACRAMENTO – Legislation by Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, that extends the California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act, a vital legal tool enacted in 2004 that has helped propel the cleanup and development of vacant hazardous waste sites across the state, today was passed by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
SB 820 extends the California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act (CLRRA), which is set to expire on Jan. 1, 2017, for another 10 years. The act encourages redevelopment of blighted properties by allowing purchasers of contaminated lots to negotiate a cleanup plan with the state in exchange for liability protection from damages associated with the original contamination that they had no role in.
California has 2,355 stalled cleanup sites that stand to benefit from the legislation, according to the Center for Creative Land Recycling. In all, the state has 90,000 contaminated properties, according to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
“SB 820 is good for California’s economy and good for California’s environment,” Hertzberg said. “We need developers to be willing to take on the risk and responsibility for cleaning up waste sites, and the California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act helps make that happen.”
The bill is sponsored by the California Association of Local Economic Development.
“Across California, cities and counties are working to improve their communities by putting contaminated properties back into productive use,” said Gurbax Sahota, the president and CEO of the California Association of Local Economic Development. “This legislation helps attract private investment to these sites and generate important local economic development.”
The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, which works to create urban parks and community gardens to strengthen low-income communities, credits CLRRA as one reason why it was able to acquire an 8.5-acre vacant brownfield in unincorporated West Carson in January and begin turning it into a multi-use park to provide sports and recreation to nearly 80,000 people living in the area.
“Because of CLRRA, this park-poor community will soon have a tremendous community resource instead of a vacant contaminated lot,” the trust wrote in a letter last month to Sen. Hertzberg.
Similarly, the city of Carson is working to redevelop a 157-acre site once used as a landfill into a regional shopping destination. CLRRA will help the city attract developers after initial remediation, said the city’s director of community development.
In addition to posing a danger to the environment, contaminated properties also are often part of urban blight that drives down neighboring property values and undercuts surrounding economic activity.
SB 820 passed on a bipartisan 6-0 vote and moves next to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Bob Hertzberg, chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, represents nearly 1 million San Fernando Valley residents of Senate District 18, which includes part of Burbank and the following communities in Los Angeles: Arleta, Granada Hills, Hansen Dam, Lake View Terrace, Mission Hills, North Hills, North Hollywood, part of Northridge, Pacoima, Panorama City, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, part of Sun Valley, Sylmar, Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, Valley Village, Van Nuys, the City of San Fernando and Universal City. See a district map at http://sd18.senate.ca.gov/district. After serving in the Assembly from 1996-2002, including two years as Speaker, Hertzberg invested in solar, wind and electric-car projects; and worked for structural changes in government through the Think Long Committee of California. Learn more at www.senate.ca.gov/hertzberg.
MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew LaMar
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814