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The Senate Environment Committee yesterday added its approval to legislation updating one of the most successful environmental programs in the country – the Site Remediation Reform Act.

Enacted 10 years ago, the program employs private sector environmental professionals to help the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection tackle what had become a seemingly insurmountable backlog of properties that needed extensive environmental cleanup.

Today, at least 14,000 contaminated properties have been cleaned up and put back to productive use, contributing to the economy and the environment at the same time.

“It is not said enough:  When brownfield sites are cleaned up, the environment and public health are protected, jobs are created, and urban areas thrive,” said NJBIA Vice President for Government Affairs Ray Cantor. “When our members undertake brownfield redevelopment, it turns around the lives of all those who live in the areas near these sites.”

Despite the success of the program, legislators are looking to make some improvements. Yesterday’s action, the release of S-3682 (Smith, Bateman), mirrors last week’s action by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. Both bills would update program and change some of the direct oversight provisions.

NJBIA supports the bill because it will make it easier for redevelopers to purchase, clean up, and redevelop these properties.

“This bill represents how the Legislature does its business best,” Cantor said.