Managing the Risk of Your Business’ Expansion
If you are looking to purchase property to expand your business, you might be able to substantially benefit from the Brownfields Program, which was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1995. Here’s some information on how you might be able to use this program to your advantage.
What Is a Brownfield?
A brownfield is a type of property that will typically be considered difficult to develop because of the presence — or the potential presence — of some sort of contaminant, pollutant or hazardous substance. Even though there may be drawbacks, there can also be substantial benefits to cleaning up these properties and making an investment in them. Doing so not only helps to create jobs, but it also improves the environment and increases the local tax base. As a result, many governments provide incentives to businesses that purchase brownfields.
Many people are hesitant to purchase brownfields because of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Contamination and Liability Act of 1980. This Act makes anyone who purchases real property responsible for costs associated with any contaminant cleanup that might be needed. This made the Brownfields Program extremely important because people naturally don’t want to buy contaminated land and bear the full burden of cleanup expenses.
A brownfield could be an abandoned factory or warehouse, or a plot of real estate that might have once been located near a gas station or a dry cleaner that contaminated nearby land. But, governments at every level are very concerned about redeveloping brownfields, and financial assistance as well as other incentives are available to take away many of the drawbacks of buying this type of property. Incentives include loans, tax breaks, technical assistance and cleanup funds.
Know the Risks
As potentially beneficial, and lucrative, as buying a brownfield may be, it still comes with risks. However, there are also many tools to help reduce those risks. For example, there are several insurance policies available that will help protect buyers from unexpected remediation expenses. Pollution liability insurance, for instance, can protect the purchaser from potential lawsuits — such as from neighbors who claim they were harmed due to pollution found on your brownfield — or future regulatory changes.
There have been instances where regulation changes led to a halt or a significant delay in development of a brownfield, or previously unknown contaminants were discovered on the land.
Talk to an Attorney
It will be very important to do all the research you can regarding the pros and cons of purchasing a brownfield property, of course, but it will just as vital to know all of your legal options before you buy. At Irpino, Avin & Hawkins Law Firm, we are extremely familiar with the Brownfields Program and know how you can avoid some of the pitfalls typically associated with purchasing this type of property.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about the services we offer, please get in touch with us by contacting us online or giving a call at 1-800-7500-LAW.