Greater Ohio Policy Center

11/19/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/19/2019 10:41

Senate Amends Brownfields Bill - Awaits Committee Approval

The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee held the third hearing for HB168 last week. This hearing provided opportunity for opponent and interested party testimony. Earlier this year, HB168 was successfully voted out of the House Civil Justice Committee, and passed unanimously in the House. For more detailed information, please visit this blog.

During the hearing last week, an amendment was offered and accepted by the Committee. The amendment originates from Ohio EPA, and involves language changes to the Voluntary Action Program (VAP) - specifically with regard to the covenant not to sue (CNS). This language does not change the drafted language for the bona fide purchase defense. Essentially, the amendment takes out language that makes a VAP CNS void automatic if an institutional control is violated and replaces it with a discretionary finding by the Director of Ohio EPA to issue an order to void the CNS. Many brownfields stakeholders have shared their support of this amendment, stating it provides an additional benefit to brownfields stakeholders and does not pose an issue to the bona fide purchaser defense - the main intent of HB168.

Next, HB168 will have its fourth hearing in the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. A vote out of committee will take place during this hearing. Following that, HB168 will head to the Senate Floor for a vote. Once passed by the Senate, it will need to go back to the House for a full vote on the floor for concurrence. GOPC has already begun our due diligence efforts to ensure a smooth vote in the Senate and in the House for concurrence.

As HB168 continues its journey through the legislature, GOPC will continue to provide updates.