Davis’ bill that would create environmental liability exemption for land banks voted out of Senate committee

HARRISBURG, Sept. 3 – State Rep. Austin Davis’ H.B. 1737, which would create an environmental liability exemption for land banks, has been voted out of the state Senate’s Environmental Resources & Energy Committee.

Davis’ bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

“I’m encouraged to see this bill making its way through the Senate committee,” Davis said. “This is an important bill that would be beneficial to many across the commonwealth and allow a lot of the current vacated properties to be utilized for better use. It’s my hope the state Senate sees the importance of this bill and promptly passes it through its chamber.”

Current law, as defined under the Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act, deems a land bank – enacted by a municipality for the purpose of acquiring and redeveloping local property – is subject to enforcement action by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

However, the Economic Development Agency, Fiduciary and Lender Environmental Liability Protection Act exempts “economic development agencies” from liability from DEP, so long as they do not contribute or exacerbate contamination at the property. Economic development agencies include redevelopment authorities, municipal authorities and other government and community-based entities acquiring properties.

Davis’ legislation seeks to grant the same protections to land banks.