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Benefits of TCEQ Brownfields Program

Benefits of cleaning up a contaminated site in the TCEQ Brownfields Program.

Several different programs offer a variety of incentives and benefits to help promote the cleanup and reuse of properties.

Brownfields Site Assessments

The Brownfields Site Assessment (BSA) program primarily performs services such as phase I and phase II environmental site assessments conducted during commercial real estate transactions for local governments and nonprofit organizations; however, the scope of work can range from filling in data gaps to performing small-scale Voluntary Cleanup Program site investigations.

In 2004, the TCEQ received additional funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its BSA program, thanks to the federal Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of January 2002. That law defines a brownfields site and allows greater flexibility in the use of grant funds: the TCEQ can now perform BSAs on petroleum-contaminated sites and is initiating a BSA program under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which, with EPA approval, can assess sites that do not meet the federal definition of a brownfields site (subject to an order or permit). In addition, the BSA program offers free technical oversight for brownfields projects that have been awarded EPA Subtitle A grants.

The TCEQ would like to perform BSAs for as many eligible sites as possible and will accept applications as long as resources remain. To increase the chances of your project being funded, you should apply as soon as possible. For more information on funding availability and BSAs, please call Stephanie Kirschner at 512-239-2360. For information on brownfields and the RCRA, please call Alan Posnick at 512-239-2332.

Federal Tax Incentives

NOTE: The Federal Brownfields Tax Incentive sunset on December 31, 2011. Congress has not renewed the Brownfields Tax Incentive. Therefore, the tax incentive cannot be claimed for tax years beyond 2011.

Use this form to obtain certification from the TCEQ that a property is located within a targeted area and that the property has had a release, or threat of release or disposal of a federal hazardous substance as defined in section 101(14) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

Exclusions

Remediation expenditures that would not qualify for this provision are properties:

  1. contaminated with petroleum or any fraction thereof which is not otherwise specifically listed or designated as a hazardous substance, including gasoline products [HR 2014 (1997), Subsection 198(d)(1); CERCLA Section 101(14)];
  2. contaminated only with naturally occurring hazardous substances, products that are part of a structure such as asbestos, and releases to drinking water supplies which occurred due to normal equipment deterioration [HR 2014, Subection 198(d)(2); CERCLA Subsection 104(a)(3)]; or
  3. which are on, or proposed for, the national priorities list [HR 2014, Paragraph 198(c)(2)(B); CERCLA Paragraph 105(a)(8)(b)].

State Property Tax Incentives for Brownfields Redevelopment (Ad Valorem Property Tax Abatements)

Local governments can now offer additional ad valorem property tax abatements to attract cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. Senate Bill 1596 Exit the TCEQ and House Bill 1239 Exit the TCEQ of the 75th Texas Legislative Session added Section 312.211 to the Texas Tax Code, allowing municipal or county taxing authorities to grant property-tax relief for the development or redevelopment of certain brownfields in a reinvestment zone that have been cleaned up through the VCP.

To be eligible, the real property must:

  1. be located in a reinvestment zone created under Tax Code 311; Exit the TCEQ
  2. not be in an improvement project financed by tax increment bonds; and
  3. have received a voluntary-cleanup certificate of completion from the VCP.

The governing body must enter into a tax-abatement agreement with the owner of the brownfields property as set forth in Tax Code 312.002. Exit the TCEQ The governing body is allowed to exempt from taxation:

  1. up to 100 percent of the value of the property in the first year covered by the agreement;
  2. up to 75 percent in the second year;
  3. up to 50 percent in the third year; and
  4. up to 25 percent in the fourth year.

Technical Assistance to Local Governments for Brownfields Redevelopment

Through its relationship with the EPA, the TCEQ offers technical advice, education, and project partnering (including partnering with other federal and state agencies) for some brownfields-redevelopment projects under the aegis of local governments, or where a local government is playing a key role in the redevelopment. Other tools that may be available in the future to help pay for investigations and cleanups include the Brownfields Site Assessments and revolving loan funds and grants. Local governments are encouraged to call Stephanie Kirschner at 512-239-2360 to inquire about available assistance for brownfields. You may also contact your mayor or a county judge for information on local resources.

The following links can also be used for seeking financial assistance:

EPA Region 6 Brownfields Development Tools: Grants through the National Brownfields Pilot Award Program

Since fiscal 1995, the EPA has funded the brownfields-assessment demonstration pilots of 250 states, cities, towns, counties, and tribes. The pilots, each funded at up to $200,000 over two years, test redevelopment models, direct special efforts toward removing regulatory barriers without sacrificing protectiveness, and facilitate coordinated site assessments, environmental cleanups, and redevelopment at the federal, state, and local levels. These funds generate interest by bringing together community groups, investors, lenders, developers, and other affected parties to address the issues of cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and returning them to appropriate, productive use. The pilots serve as vehicles for states and localities struggling with such efforts to explore various models.

Financial and Technical Assistance by Designation as a National Brownfields Showcase City

The Brownfields National Partnership Action Agenda calls for the selection of 10 showcase communities across the country to demonstrate that, through cooperation, federal, state, local, and private efforts can be concentrated around brownfields to produce environmental cleanup, stimulate economic development, and revitalize communities.

Special Targeted Site Assessment Assistance to Cities

Through the use of existing federal Superfund assessment and investigation funds, EPA Region 6 offers site assessment and technical assistance services for local governments and nonprofits.

For more information regarding the above EPA programs contact:
Karen Peycke

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 6 Brownfields Coordinator
214-665-7175
Visit the EPA Region 6 Brownfields Program Exit the TCEQ for more information.

If you have any comments or questions about the Texas Brownfields Redevelopment Initiative, please contact:
Kristian Livingston
TCEQ Voluntary Cleanup Program, MC 221
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087
512-239-2252