130A-310.33. Liability protection.

(a) A prospective developer who enters into a brownfields agreement with the Department and who is complying with the brownfields agreement shall not be held liable for remediation of areas of contaminants identified in the brownfields agreement except as specified in the brownfields agreement, so long as the activities conducted on the brownfields property by or under the control or direction of the prospective developer do not increase the risk of harm to public health or the environment and the prospective developer is not required to undertake additional remediation to unrestricted use standards pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. The liability protection provided under this Part applies to all of the following persons to the same extent as to a prospective developer, so long as these persons are not otherwise potentially responsible parties or parents, subsidiaries, or affiliates of potentially responsible parties and the person is not required to undertake additional remediation to unrestricted use standards pursuant to subsection (c) of this section:

(1) Any person under the direction or control of the prospective developer who directs or contracts for remediation or redevelopment of the brownfields property.

(2) Any future owner of the brownfields property.

(3) A person who develops or occupies the brownfields property.

(4) A successor or assign of any person to whom the liability protection provided under this Part applies.

(5) Any lender or fiduciary that provides financing for remediation or redevelopment of the brownfields property.

(b) A person who conducts an environmental assessment or transaction screen on a brownfields property and who is not otherwise a potentially responsible party is not a potentially responsible party as a result of conducting the environmental assessment or transaction screen unless that person increases the risk of harm to public health or the environment by failing to exercise due diligence and reasonable care in performing the environmental assessment or transaction screen.

(c) If a land-use restriction set out in the Notice of Brownfields Property required under G.S. 130A-310.35 is violated, the owner of the brownfields property at the time the land-use restriction is violated, the owner's successors and assigns, and the owner's agents who direct or contract for alteration of the brownfields property in violation of a land-use restriction shall be liable for remediation to unrestricted use standards. A prospective developer who completes the remediation or redevelopment required under a brownfields agreement or other person who receives liability protection under this Part shall not be required to undertake additional remediation at the brownfields property unless any of the following apply:

(1) The prospective developer knowingly or recklessly provides false information that forms a basis for the brownfields agreement or that is offered to demonstrate compliance with the brownfields agreement or fails to disclose relevant information about contamination at the brownfields property.

(2) New information indicates the existence of previously unreported contaminants or an area of previously unreported contamination on or associated with the brownfields property that has not been remediated to unrestricted use standards, unless the brownfields agreement is amended to include any previously unreported contaminants and any additional areas of contamination. If the brownfields agreement sets maximum concentrations for contaminants, and new information indicates the existence of previously unreported areas of these contaminants, further remediation shall be required only if the areas of previously unreported contaminants raise the risk of the contamination to public health or the environment to a level less protective of public health and the environment than that required by the brownfields agreement.

(3) The level of risk to public health or the environment from contaminants is unacceptable at or in the vicinity of the brownfields property due to changes in exposure conditions, including (i) a change in land use that increases the probability of exposure to contaminants or in the vicinity of the brownfields property or (ii) the failure of remediation to mitigate risks to the extent required to make the brownfields property fully protective of public health and the environment as planned in the brownfields agreement.

(4) The Department obtains new information about a contaminant associated with the brownfields property or exposures at or around the brownfields property that raises the risk to public health or the environment associated with the brownfields property beyond an acceptable range and in a manner or to a degree not anticipated in the brownfields agreement. Any person whose use, including any change in use, of the brownfields property causes an unacceptable risk to public health or the environment may be required by the Department to undertake additional remediation measures under the provisions of this Part.

(5) A prospective developer fails to file a timely and proper Notice of Brownfields Development under this Part. (1997-357, s. 2; 2001-384, s. 11.)