Probate and Property, January/February 2003, Volume 17, Number 1
For approximately two decades now, real estate lawyers have wrestled with the broad liability net of federal and state environmental laws and regulations and the resulting economic impact on industrial and commercial real estate transactions. For many years the consequence was that contaminated industrial and commercial properties, the so-called brownfield sites, were left abandoned. Eventually a number of strategies and techniques evolved to address the liability and cost risks associated with the environmentally challenged real estate project. Cleanup standard initiatives were enacted to provide alternatives to removal as the sole cleanup method. Tax incentives, grant programs, and low-interest loan programs were passed to lower cleanup costs. Liability protections were enacted to provide comfort to the lending community. Also, an increasing number of government initiatives, including smart growth legislation and urban enterprise zone and environmental opportunity zone legislation, were enacted to stimulate the redevelopment of urban areas where most of these environmentally challenged properties arelocated.