Press Release

Legislation to Clean Up Hazardous Waste Sites Passes Assembly, Goes to Governor

SB 820 extends the California Land Reuse & Revitalization Act, helps state continue pushing redevelopment of blighted properties

August 4, 2016

SACRAMENTO – The Assembly 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.

SB 820, which was passed as part of the Assembly’s consent calendar and cleared the Senate in May, goes next to the governor 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. “SB 820 is good for California’s economy and good for California’s environment.”

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.

The bill is sponsored by the California Association of Local Economic Development.

“Extending CLRRA will give communities access to a tool that puts contaminated sites back into productive use and protects the public by encouraging site cleanup,” said Gurbax Sahota, the president and CEO of the California Association of Local Economic Development. “By enabling private entities that are not responsible for the contamination to clean up these areas, CLRRA creates a streamlined opportunity for meaningful public-private partnerships that benefit California residents and local economic development.”

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.

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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 athttp://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) 651-401

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