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EPA Identifies 66,000 Brownfields Sites Suitable for Renewable Energy Development

August 09, 2013 posted by Eric Christensen

Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") nearly tripled the number of contaminated or formerly-contaminated "Brownfields" sites it has identified as suitable for renewable energy development. The sites were identified through a cooperative effort of EPA, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and a number of states, and can be identified on EPA's "RE-Powering America's Lands" mapping website. 66,000 sites have now been identified, up from 24,000 previously. The RE-Powering America's Lands program aims to help meet the Obama Administration's ambitious renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals, while at the same time putting formerly contaminated lands to good use, reducing pressure on undeveloped lands, and providing an economic boost to local economies. EPA's program identifies Brownfields sites that are suitable for renewable energy development, and lays out a number of federal tax and Brownfield development incentives that can be harnessed to develop such sites. These federal incentives often can be combined with state incentives aimed at encouraging both renewable energy and Brownfields development. For example, Washington offers a number of tax incentives, regulatory incentives, and loan programs encouraging development on both fronts. Generally, Brownfields sites are located in industrialized or formerly industrialized areas, so transmission lines and other infrastructure to support energy development are often in easy proximity. Combining these advantages with state and federal tax and regulatory incentives, loan and finance programs, and a carefully-considered business and financing structure can make developing these sites extremely attractive. If you have questions about the Brownfields development, renewable energy development, tax and financial incentives available for such development, or other matters discussed in this post, please contact a member of GTH's Energy, Telecommunications, and Utilities practice group, Environment & Natural Resources practice group, or Real Estate & Land Use practice groups. We are proud that our partner Jim Waldo was recently named 2013 Lawyer of the Year for Energy and Natural Resources Law, and practice group members Don Cohen, Bill Lynn, Dale Carlisle, Julie Dickens, and Brad Jones were all named among Seattle's Best Lawyers.