The Brownfield Reimbursement Program (the “Program”), a New Jersey State initiative designed to reimburse developers up to 75% of costs incurred to remediate a brownfield site, has run out of money and is temporarily shut down. This development arrives on the heels of a recent New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) announcement that, effective May 3, 2011, applications to the Underground Storage Tank Fund, a similar initiative to help homeowners remove USTs, will not be reviewed or processed due to insufficient funds.
Effectuated under the Brownfields and Contaminated Site Remediation Act of 1998, the Program was available to any party that is not liable under the Spill Compensation and Control Act N.J.S.A.58:10-23.11g. Funding for reimbursement under the Program was derived from tax revenues and appears to be a victim of the general budget crisis.
This announcement will no doubt stifle future remediation and development of New Jersey’s many brownfield sites for some time. Even if the program gets back on track, NJDEP will be forced to deal with a backlog of applications. According to Irene Kropp, NJDEP Deputy Commissioner, there are currently $71 million worth of Program applications that have not yet been processed. Those already in the queue must be processed prior to the review of any new submissions.
For more information on brownfields generally, please visit NJDEP’s brownfields website.
Sandro G. Ocasio is an Associate in the Gibbons Real Property & Environmental Department.