ALLENTOWN, Pa., June 3, 2005 (PRNewswire) — As a result of an innovative agreement signed a decade ago by PPL Corporation and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, old industrial “brownfield” properties across the state now meet current environmental standards.
“This agreement was ahead of its time. It replaced confrontation with common sense, and litigation with action,” said James M. Seif, PPL vice president for Corporate Relations.
Seif has seen the benefits of the agreement from both sides. When the agreement was signed in 1995, he was serving as Pennsylvania’s secretary of Environmental Protection under Gov. Tom Ridge.
The original agreement included 134 sites. Properties were added over the years, and the agreement was expanded to include sites of the former Penn Fuel Gas Co. when PPL acquired that company in 1998.
Sites completed under the agreement include former power plants, electric substations, manufactured gas plants, locations where spills of oil containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) occurred, abandoned oil and natural gas wells and other utility operations.
PPL conducts scientific investigations of these sites, reports the findings to DEP and, where needed, develops and carries out cleanup plans with DEP’s approval to address contamination.
“Some of the operations date back to the Civil War era. PPL is taking the responsibility to make sure they meet 21st-century environmental standards,” Seif said.
“The agreement is consistent with PPL’s environmental policy, which has at its core responsibility, stewardship and innovation,” he added.
Of the 230 sites completed under the agreement that are not old oil or gas wells, about 220 have met all the requirements of the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Remediation Standards Act. Properties that PPL has sold have been redeveloped for various uses, including a hotel, other commercial operations, industrial parks, recreation areas and parking lots.
“Multi-site agreements expand the effectiveness of our award-winning land recycling program by facilitating the sustainable development of properties throughout Pennsylvania,” said Thomas Fidler, DEP deputy secretary for Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection.
The agreement signed with PPL in 1995 was the first of its kind, Fidler noted, and has been the model for agreements with other companies and the U.S. Department of Defense for other brownfield sites in the state.
“The PPL agreement has been successful because PPL has demonstrated an impressive environmental and community service commitment in its day-to-day operations,” Fidler added.
The regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added his support for the agreement.
“My congratulations to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and PPL on the 10th anniversary of their agreement to help revitalize former industrial sites, transforming them from community problems into community assets,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA Region 3 administrator.
About PPL [ www.pplweb.com ]
PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., controls about 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to nearly 5 million customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.