Senate Passes Legislation to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Sites

SB 820 removes sunset for California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act, helps state continue pushing redevelopment of blighted properties

May 12, 2016

SACRAMENTO – The Senate today approved 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.

The Senate passed SB 820 on a bipartisan, 38-0 vote. The bill goes next to the Assembly for consideration.

“California has thousands of contaminated properties that must be cleaned up, and it’s crucial that developers be willing to take on the risk and responsibility for cleaning these sites,” Hertzberg said. “This legislation helps stimulate economic activity in places that need it most.”

SB 820 renews 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.

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 to 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, according to 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 is sponsored by the California Association of Local Economic Development.

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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
Communications Director
Senator Robert M. Hertzberg
Capitol Building, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 651-4018

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