Section 22-30E-2 Legislative findings; purpose and intent of chapter; establishment of voluntary assessment and/or cleanup program for properties with potential environmental contamination.
(a) The Legislature finds that rural and urban property in Alabama may have areas of actual or perceived contamination at levels that may not be subject to assessment or cleanup under applicable laws and regulations. The Legislature finds that this perception of contamination discourages the purchase and productive use of otherwise usable properties. The Legislature further finds that the voluntary assessment and/or cleanup of such properties is in the public interest.
(b) The Legislature finds that industries and developers often give preference to previously unused greenfield sites over previously used property due largely to concerns over the financial and environmental liabilities which may be incurred in acquiring such previously used property for reuse and redevelopment. The Legislature further finds that the appropriate reuse and redevelopment of properties which are contaminated, or perceived to be contaminated, is in the public interest.
(c) The Legislature finds that the reuse of previously utilized property is an important component of a sound land use policy that will help to preserve heretofore undeveloped farmland, open space areas, and natural areas; and reduce public costs for installing new water, sewer, and other utilities and highway infrastructure.
(d) The Legislature finds that it is necessary to pass legislation that provides a mechanism to implement a cleanup program which encourages applicants to voluntarily assess, cleanup, and reuse such properties, while not relieving a "responsible person," as defined by Section 22-30E-3, from any liability for administrative, civil, or criminal fines or penalties otherwise authorized by law and imposed as a result of illegal disposal of waste or for pollution of the land, air, or waters of the state in violation of established laws and regulations on an identified property.
(e) Therefore, the Legislature hereby establishes a program, to be implemented, maintained, and administered by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, to encourage the voluntary cleanup and the reuse and redevelopment of such properties.
(Act 2001-635, p. 1225, §1.)