‘BRIC Act’ Would Extend Environmental Protections to Non-BRAC Redevelopment
The reuse of military installations closed outside of the BRAC process would receive the same liability protections when unknown contamination is discovered as the developers of BRAC sites are provided, under legislation introduced last week by Indiana Rep. Todd Young (R).
Young introduced the Base Redevelopment and Indemnification Correction (BRIC) Act, H.R. 4407, to benefit the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant in southern Indiana. Concerns about the potential that developers would bear legal liability if unknown contaminants are found at the plant have blocked interest in investing in what is now called River Ridge Commerce Center, Young said.
“It will provide us some additional environmental protection and indemnification if some future tenant discovers some contamination,” River Ridge Executive Director Jerry Acy told the News and Tribune. “It puts a lot more urgency on the federal government to clean up, [if they] would discover anything after the fact,” Acy added.
At press time, the text of the legislation was not available on Thomas, so it was not immediately clear what specific protections against liability the measure includes. Young has not attracted any co-sponsors yet for the measure.
The southern portion of the ammo plant, which is reserved for economic development by the state and county through the River Ridge Development Authority, was not disposed of according to the BRAC process. While the federal government has cleaned up most of the property, businesses that help redevelop River Ridge are not guaranteed protection from issues that might arise from the production of ammunition decades ago, Young said.
“This bill would simply minimize risk for potential job creators at places like River Ridge in the same way that we minimize risk for potential job creators at any other closed military facility,” he said. ”It’s a glaring loophole that is holding back economic development in southern Indiana, but we think we’ve found an easy solution.”