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ACT NO. 80

(H.209)

Contaminated Sites; Strict Liability

This act establishes a pilot project with respect to the redevelopment of contaminated properties, which shall be available to no more than five applicants who apply through July 1, 2001. Regarding properties in the pilot project, the secretary may amend an approved corrective action plan by requiring a one-time corrective action plan adjustment, which may increase the costs of completing the corrective action plan by no more than 30 percent. Other than that situation, the secretary may amend the plan only upon request by an eligible person or successor; provided however, that if at any time the secretary finds that a completed corrective action plan fails to adequately protect human health and the environment and fails to meet all applicable state and federal cleanup standards the secretary may pursue any liable person except the person who completed the corrective action plan, and may perform investigation, abatement, removal, remediation or monitoring activities necessary to ensure the property meets the standards.

The act provides that innocent owners of contaminated properties are eligible to participate in the program, and it defines an "innocent owner" and allows use of affidavits of innocence. It gives the secretary more flexibility in bonding and similar requirements that apply to site investigations. It allows the secretary to contract for services to investigate and review the site investigation work plan, and the corrective action plan, with the costs to be borne by the eligible person. The act requires the secretary of natural resources to coordinate the contaminated program with related federal programs. Finally, the act provides that, in specified situations, strict liability for contamination does not apply to a person otherwise liable who can establish that the release of hazardous materials was caused solely by the migration of a release of hazardous materials that did not originate on that person's property.

Effective Date: July 1, 1998