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Subchapter 003 : BROWNFIELDS REUSE AND ENVIRONMENTAL LIABILITY LIMITATIONS(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 6654)
§ 6654. Brownfield Revitalization Fund; creation; assistance
(a) There is created a Brownfield Revitalization Fund that shall be a special fund created pursuant to 32 V.S.A. chapter 7, subchapter 5 to be administered by the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development to aid applicants in the redevelopment of the Brownfield Cleanup Program by assessing and remediating sites. Monies received by the Secretary of Natural Resources for application and participation in the Program shall be deposited in the redevelopment of contaminated properties account of the Environmental Contingency Fund established in section 1283 of this title.
(b) The Fund shall comprise all the following;
(1) State or federal funds appropriated by the General Assembly;
(2) gifts, grants, or other contributions.
(c) A person may apply to the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development for financial assistance in the form of a grant or loan from the Brownfield Revitalization Fund for the purpose of completing characterization, assessment, or remediation of a site only after receipt of a work plan approved by the Secretary submitted pursuant to the Brownfield Property Cleanup Program unless the application is for a project that has been determined to be ineligible for the Program and is otherwise appropriate for funding pursuant to subsection (d) of this section.
(d) In order to determine an award of financial assistance, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development in consultation with the Secretary of Natural Resources shall consider all the following:
(1) the extent to which the proposed project will facilitate the identification and reduction of threats to human health and the environment associated with exposure to hazardous materials, pollutants, or contaminants;
(2) the extent to which the proposed project will facilitate the use or reuse of existing infrastructure;
(3) the potential for the proposed project to stimulate economic development;
(4) the extent to which the proposed project will respond to local or regional housing needs;
(5) the level of participation by a local community relating to remediation and future use of the Brownfield site;
(6) the extent to which a grant or loan will meet the needs of a community that due to a small population or the low income of the community is unable to draw on other funding sources for environmental remediation and subsequent redevelopment of the area in which a Brownfield site is located;
(7) the extent to which a grant or loan will facilitate the creation or preservation of or an addition to a park, greenway, underdeveloped property, recreational property, or other property used for nonprofit purposes;
(8) the extent to which the grant or loan will create a more balanced geographic distribution of awards from the Brownfield Revitalization Fund.
(e) A grant may be awarded by the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development with the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources, provided:
(1) A grant may not exceed $50,000.00 for characterization and assessment of a site.
(2) A grant may not exceed $200,000.00 for remediation of a site.
(3) A grant may be used by an applicant to purchase environmental insurance relating to the performance of the characterization, assessment, or remediation of a Brownfield site in accordance with a corrective action plan approved by the Secretary of Natural Resources.
(4) Financial assistance may be provided to applicants by developing a risk sharing pool, an indemnity pool, or other insurance mechanism designed to help applicants.
(5) All reports generated by financial assistance from the Brownfield Revitalization Fund, including site assessments, site investigations, feasibility studies, corrective action plans, and completion reports shall be provided as hard copies to the Secretaries of Commerce and Community Development and of Natural Resources.
(f) The Vermont Economic Development Authority, VEDA, is authorized to make loans on behalf of the State pursuant to this section. Annually, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development with the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources in consultation with the VEDA manager shall determine an amount from the Brownfield Revitalization Program that will be available to VEDA for loans. Proceeds from repayment of loans shall be deposited in the Brownfield Revitalization Fund and shall be available for future grants and loans under this section. Loans under this subsection shall be issued and administered by VEDA, provided:
(1) Loans may be awarded only to applicants who have been determined eligible by the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development with the approval of the Secretary of Natural Resources, and the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development has certified that the applicant and the project are eligible for financing or assistance under this section and the project has priority for an award of financial assistance.
(2) A loan to an applicant for characterization or assessment may not exceed $250,000.00. Remediation loans shall not be capped. All loans shall be subject to all the following conditions:
(A) Repayment of a loan shall commence no later than one year following completion of the project for which the loan was used.
(B) The rate of interest on loans shall be set by VEDA in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development. The interest rate shall be sufficiently attractive to advance the purposes of this subchapter and may be less than the prevailing borrowing rates available to similarly situated applicants from private lenders, but not less than zero percent.
(C) Loans shall be made in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in a loan agreement executed by VEDA and the applicant. The loan agreement shall specify the terms and conditions of the loan and repayment and any other terms and conditions determined to be necessary by VEDA and the Secretaries of Natural Resources or of Commerce and Community Development.
(D) Disbursement of loan proceeds shall be based on certification by the loan recipient that costs for which reimbursement is requested have been incurred or paid by the recipient for activities under the approved plan. The loan recipient shall provide supporting evidence of payment on request of VEDA. Interim financing charges or short-term interest costs may constitute an allowable cost of a project for which a loan may be used.
(E) In the event of default, any amounts owed on the loan shall be considered a debt for the purposes of 32 V.S.A. § 5932(4). VEDA may recover this debt pursuant to the set-off debt collection remedy established pursuant to 32 V.S.A. §§ 5833 and 5934.
(F) The applicant has certified that all State and federal permits and licenses necessary to undertake the project for which financing is being sought have been or will be obtained prior to disbursement of loan funds by VEDA.
(G) The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development has certified to VEDA that the applicant and the project are eligible for financing or assistance under this section, and the project has priority for financial assistance.
(3) The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development in consultation with the Secretary of Natural Resources shall maintain a prioritized list of projects that are eligible for financial assistance under this section at least annually. In order to prioritize, the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development shall consider at a minimum, the criteria set forth in subsection (d) of this section and the following:
(A) the severity of any health or environmental hazard to be remediated;
(B) the population to be served;
(C) the readiness of the project to proceed to the next planning or construction step.
(4) Neither the State nor VEDA shall be responsible for owning or operating a project or for completing a corrective action plan if a grant or loan recipient defaults on a loan obligation, abandons the project site, or fails to complete a corrective action plan to the satisfaction of the Secretary.
(5) The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development or the Secretary of Natural Resources and VEDA may enter into agreements on behalf of the State with federal agencies in order to obtain grants and awards to further the purposes of the Brownfield Revitalization Fund, provided that any grant or award has been approved in compliance with 32 V.S.A. § 5.
(6) [Repealed.] (Added 2007, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 7; amended 2009, No. 67 (Adj. Sess.), § 96; 2009, No. 161 (Adj. Sess.), § 31, eff. June 4, 2010.)