For Immediate Release - May 19, 2008


Lieutenant Governor Murray says interagency initiative can help communities clean up and redevelop contaminated properties

BOSTON - Monday, May 19, 2008 - Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced today a new initiative to help communities clean up contaminated sites and prepare them for redevelopment. New Brownfields Support Teams made up of staff from multiple state agencies will target sites that have yet to be developed since the Brownfields Act was passed in 1998, the Lieutenant Governor said.

"Despite many accomplishments, there are still many potentially viable Brownfield sites that have stalled due to market conditions, extent of environmental contamination, and the lack of local expertise to deal with the complex issues that arise with troublesome sites," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "This second generation of sites needs extra attention to find a clear pathway to cleanup and redevelopment. The Brownfields Support Team initiative will provide the attention needed to get the job done."

The Brownfields Support Team initiative will bring together the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (HED), and MassDevelopment to help municipalities solve the problems that impede the redevelopment of contaminated properties. Other state and federal agencies will be brought into these teams depending on the needs of specific projects. These could include the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Revenue, and federal EPA and HUD.

Brownfields Support Teams will work with communities to identify site- and project-specific issues that are hindering redevelopment of key properties. Support provided by the Brownfields Support Teams may include expedited site inspections, reviews, and approvals by MassDEP; technical assistance on expedited permitting from HED; funding for assessment and cleanup from MassDevelopment; and coordination with the Attorney General's Office on liability issues.

The Lieutenant Governor made the announcement at a Gateway Cities Compact signing event hosted by MassINC. These so-called Gateway Cities - former mill cities that continue to provide first homes and first jobs for new immigrants - have a high concentration of sites contaminated by old industrial uses that pose serious challenges for redevelopment. The new Brownfields Support Teams will concentrate initial efforts on contaminated properties located in Gateway Communities and Gateway Regions where MassDEP is providing technical assistance; Growth Districts and 43D streamlined-permitting projects identified by HED; and areas prioritized for municipal assistance by MassDevelopment. The first five sites for the pilot initiative will be announced within the next few weeks.