Connecticut’s 2019 legislative session produced some long-overdue improvements to the state’s Transfer Act. The resulting Senate Bill 1030 awaits Governor Ned Lamont’s expected signature and would take effect October 1, 2019.
The Transfer Act was enacted in 1985 to alert unsuspecting purchasers that they were buying properties or businesses with a history of hazardous waste generation, and to allocate the responsibility for any necessary investigation or remediation needed to either the buyer or seller. Since its adoption, more than 7,000 filings have been made, and many sites have been appropriately cleaned up.
But the Act had many ambiguities and inconsistencies that overly complicated transactions, and consequently has been amended several times in its more than 30-year history. Recognizing that even these recent improvements may not address all issues, the Bill provides for the creation of a working group to recommend additional legislative changes by February 1, 2020. Hopefully, the legislature will enact additional improvements next year.
Senate Bill 1030 narrows the definition of covered “establishments” by excluding waste generated solely as a result of:
- (i) “one-time generation”;
- (ii) remediation;
- (iii) removal of building materials;
- (iv) removal of unused chemicals from building clear-outs; or
- (v) cessation of business operations—provided the waste is removed within 90 days.
While these exemptions are useful, their interpretation will not be without question.
Finally, the Bill shortens the time frame—from three years to one year—by which the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) must commence audits of final Verifications submitted under the Act, and provides that DEEP must complete its audits within three years. This is a helpful step to reduce post-closing uncertainty that had both buyers and sellers holding their breath for unnecessarily long periods while awaiting DEEP’s final blessing. If you have any questions about this topic, please contact the author, an attorney in the Environment & Energy Practice, or your lawyer at McCarter & English, LLP.