PA Brownfields: "One Call" Bill Progressing, Other Changes in Wings

January 16, 2006
Client Alert Newsletter Forecast 2006

The coming year will likely see at least one significant enhancement to Pennsylvania's brownfields program, but other long-awaited changes continue to move at their own pace. Approaching enactment is H.B. 2223, which updates the Commonwealth's Underground Utility Line Protection Law by, among other things, extending the "One Call" system to environmental engineering controls such as capped contamination. Thus, for the first time in Pennsylvania, a standardized process would exist to warn utility companies and others performing excavation activities when their proposed digging could impact environmental engineering controls at remediated sites. The bill passed the House in December 2005, and is currently undergoing Senate committee review. Progressing more slowly is Pennsylvania's adoption of the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act ("UECA"), which the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP") generally supports as an important tool to ensure the enforceability of institutional and engineering controls. Originally introduced in 2003, UECA was reintroduced as H.B. 1249 in March 2005 and remains before a House committee. On the regulatory side, little movement has occurred lately on PADEP's anticipated proposal to amend the Act 2 rules. Among other things, this package is expected to broaden deed notice requirements, clarify post-remediation care obligations, and allow the use of groundwater characterization data for attainment demonstration purposes. A proposal is not expected until late 2006 at the earliest.