Today NAIOP submitted an extensive comment letter to DEP on its proposed Vapor Intrusion Guidance. NAIOP has significant concerns with the guidance document and the negative impact it would have on the redevelopment of the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities and brownfield sites. In addition to providing a thorough analysis and review of the document, the comment letter also asks DEP for a detailed response to our comments and concerns.
Brownfields can only be successfully redeveloped when the health of site occupants is protected, the regulatory path is clear, required response actions can be performed in a timely and cost effective manner, and regulatory closure means just that. In other words, potential developers must be comfortable that these issues can be addressed with a reasonable degree of predictability. In many places, the draft Guidance does not accomplish these objectives. As a result, there is a very real risk that a significant portion of the sites that will be subject to the Guidance will not be redeveloped.
All of NAIOP’s comments are provided with the objective of improving the Guidance in a manner that is consistent with the goals referenced in recent public comments made by DEP Commissioner Kimmell. We share the Commissioner’s interest in building upon the past success of the Commonwealth’s risk-based, Licensed Site Professional implemented, cleanup program to protect public health while encouraging the redevelopment of contaminated sites. Unfortunately, we believe the current draft of the Guidance does not achieve these goals. However, we very much look forward to working with the Commissioner and the Department to develop a final Guidance document that does.
Very special thanks to the members of NAIOP’s 21E Committee, especially committee co-chair Ned Abelson of Goulston & Storrs, who contributed an enormous amount of time to this issue over the past several years.