As of October 1, 2013, Connecticut property owners have another tool in the contamination remediation toolbox. Public Act No. 13-308 revised the statutory provisions governing Environmental Land Use Restrictions (ELURs), which were first created in 1994. The act also created a new category of land use restriction known as a Notice of Activity and Use Limitation (NAUL). Like an ELUR, a NAUL is designed to provide long-term restrictions on the use of all or a portion of a property with residual contamination. NAULs are an additional means whereby human health and the environment are protected, while economic redevelopment of properties is facilitated and promoted. The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection describes the NAUL as “an additional faster, flexible, and cheaper tool for cleanup” and “a self-implementing … optional legal control on future uses of certain low risk sites where pollution will be left in place.” But there are still practical considerations as well as areas in need of further clarification.
Connecticut’s Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) provide for the remediation of soil and groundwater to levels that are protective of human health and the environment. Under certain circumstances, where these standards cannot be met, the RSRs allow for the use of an ELUR as an alternative mechanism to achieve compliance. ELURs are easements granted to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection and are generally viewed as providing a less costly and more practical alternative. A frequent refrain by both regulated and regulator is that the ELUR process is inefficient, burdensome and time consuming.
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