Yesterday, the Ohio House voted to unanimously concur with amended House Bill 168, which incentivizes economic development by establishing a state-level affirmative defense for potential buyers of lightly contaminated properties, also known as brownfields.
Brownfields are found in every county throughout the state, in both rural and urban communities. These blighted sites discourage investment and create barriers to job creation and economic development. Brownfield redevelopment often involves more time and increased costs, and the environmental contamination increases liability to purchasers and developers. Because of this, their redevelopment is often passed over. This bill will align Ohio with federal law, as well as with neighboring states like Indiana and Michigan.
Back in November, an amendment was offered to HB 168 to clarify language of the Voluntary Action Program; however, this amendment did not change the nature of the bill. Recently, a second amendment was added to ensure that the provisions within the bill are retroactive to January 11, 2002. This is consistent with federal protections for purchasers under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
The Ohio Chamber of Commerce looks forward to Governor DeWine signing this important, pro-business measure into law.