WASHINGTON, DC-President Bill Clinton signed legislation on Dec. 22 that will assist landowners with brownfields revitalization efforts. More than 400,000 contaminated tracts exist in the United States. The Building Owners and Managers Association International, commercial real estate advocacy group, expressed its approval if the law.

The organization’s view is that, absent reform of current Superfund law that would accelerate the cleanup of brownfields and enhance the land reclamation process, the legislation is necessary to promote the transformation of contaminated urban sites into useable, economically self-sufficient properties. The new law allows owners of brownfields sites to expense their clean-up costs, as opposed to capitalizing them, until Jan. 1, 2004. This tax deduction will release $489 million in investment capital to be used on remediation efforts.

The provision also expands criteria for an eligible site to include any contaminated or potentially contaminated site that has been certified by a state environmental agency. This does not include sites designated as national priorities that are already part of the Superfund program and therefore targeted for federal cleanup.

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