SB 476A is one of few environmental bills that the 2013 legislature passed. The bill amends the prospective purchaser agreement statute (ORS 465.325) in the following ways:
(1) Requiring the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) to specifically notify potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”), who have previously entered into an agreement with DEQ, of any proposed consent judgment being considered at the same facility;
(2) Allowing those PRPs to comment on the proposed consent judgment; and
(3) Giving those PRPs a statutory right to intervene as parties in the proceeding related to the entry of the consent judgment.
This amendment may affect those who are considering the purchase of properties that have environmental contamination and are seeking protection from incurring further liabilities through a court-approved settlement agreement with DEQ. Through such an agreement, DEQ promises to release the prospective purchasers from such liabilities as well as affords them protection from claims of third parties. With the additional notice requirement and the allowance for certain PRPs to comment on the agreement and to intervene in the court proceeding, the amendment will likely increase the time to procure the prospective purchaser protection, particularly at properties with anticipated cleanup disputes. The bill became effective on June 13, 2013.