In his State of the State address on February 13, 2013, Governor Tomblin announced his support for “brownfields” redevelopment and proposed “a public, non-profit corporation to identify, promote, and oversee programs that will foster economic development and environmental remediation” of brownfields throughout West Virginia. He stated as follows:
West Virginia…needs to identify and remediate land available for development. West Virginia has a strong history in manufacturing and mining, and a number of unused sites have great potential for future development. So tonight, I propose the State form a public non-profit corporation to identify, promote, and oversee programs that will foster economic development and environmental remediation. Working together, we can put these sites back to use in West Virginia.
Brownfields are real property that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated and include mine sites as well as contaminated industrial sites. The public, non-profit corporation that Governor Tomblin is proposing would be called the West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation. Bills creating the corporation requested by the Governor, Senate Bill 342 and House Bill 2590, were introduced in the Senate and the House on February 21, 2013. The legislation would also establish voluntary land stewardship, certified sites, and land bank programs to be implemented by the corporation. It is anticipated that the land stewardship program will help ensure the long-term viability of risk-based cleanups in the state, while the land bank and certified sites programs will promote economic development and the productive use of developable land in the state. Similar legislation, Senate Bill 50, was also introduced in the Senate on February 13, 2013, by Senators Plymale (D-Wayne), Jenkins (D-Cabell), Stollings (D-Boone), and McCabe (D-Kanawha) and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. To track the status of the bills, click here.
This article was authored by Gale Lea Rubrecht, Jackson Kelly PLLC. For more information on the author, see here.