Senate Bill No. 50
(By Senators Plymale, Jenkins, Stollings and McCabe)
[Introduced February 13, 2013; referred to the Committee on the
Judiciary; and then to the Committee on Finance.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated §31-21-1, §31-21-2,
§31-21-3, §31-21-4, §31-21-5, §31-21-6, §31-21-7, §31-21-8,
§31-21-9, §31-21-10, §31-21-11, §31-21-12, §31-21-13,
§31-21-14, §31-21-15, §31-21-16, §31-21-17, §31-21-18 and
§31-21-19, all relating to creating the nonprofit West
Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation Act; making findings,
declaring policy and stating its purpose; establishing a land
bank program; defining terms; enumerating powers; establishing
a board of directors; setting forth responsibilities;
providing for underwriting; establishing a state certified
sites program; setting forth minimum standards; preserving
property values; providing for contaminated property;
providing for conflicts of interest; providing a nonwaiver of sovereign immunity; collectively addressing several
environmental and economic development programs established to
promote the productive reuse of idled and underutilized
commercial, industrial and mining properties; supporting more
efficient use of existing public infrastructure; encouraging
increased job creation with living wages, renewed community
vitality and tax revenue generation while protecting public
health and natural resources; and providing that obligations
of the corporation are not those of the state.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended
by adding thereto a new article, designated §31-21-1, §31-21-2,
§31-21-3, §31-21-4, §31-21-5, §31-21-6, §31-21-7, §31-21-8,
§31-21-9, §31-21-10, §31-21-11, §31-21-12, §31-21-13, §31-21-14,
§31-21-15, §31-21-16, §31-21-17, §31-21-18 and §31-21-19, all to
read as follows:
ARTICLE 21. WEST VIRGINIA LAND STEWARDSHIP CORPORATION.
Part 1. Short Title, Declaration of Policy, Purpose of Article and
§31-21-1. Short title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as "The West
Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation Act."
§31-21-2. Declaration of policy.
(a) The Legislature finds and declares that developable land
is one of West Virginia's most valuable resources in terms of net
contributions to the state's economy and tax base;
(b) The Legislature further finds that:
(1) Due to topography, the state has somewhat limited amounts
of developable land and that promoting the productive reuse of
idled and underutilized commercial, industrial and mining
properties will maximize our most valuable resource and foster
reuse of sites with existing public infrastructure;
(2) An entity that specializes in promoting the productive
reuse of idled or underutilized commercial, industrial and mining
properties will help the state and its citizenry to plan more
wisely for sustainable property reuse and economic development
(3) An entity created to address and reduce regulatory and
economic uncertainty by being a repository of site history and
remediation information about formerly used properties can be a
benefit to attracting new employers or encouraging businesses to
relocate, remain or expand within the state;
(4) An entity that assists the state's Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) with a voluntary land stewardship
program for the long-term safeguarding of remediated sites using
institutional controls (ICs) and engineering controls (ECs) (collectively IECs) to ensure that the remedy remains protective of
human health and the environment is assisting the department to
effectively oversee these remediated sites (IEC Sites);
(5) An entity that also assists in identifying formerly used
properties that are ready for redevelopment and construction within
six months or less from acquisition and certifies these properties
as "project-ready" for specific industry profiles can increase
economic development efforts within the state;
(6) An entity that also acts as a land bank to accept title to
formerly used properties as an intermediary step to help seek a
purchaser, ready the property for reuse through environmental
assessment, remediation, building demolition or other efforts, can
be a useful ally to the state, local government, real estate
developers and business for transacting property conveyances,
redevelopment and creating or retaining jobs; and
(7) The promotion of private investment in our developable
land and West Virginia businesses will tend to reduce unemployment
by creating new or maintaining existing opportunities for the
citizens of this state.
§31-21-3. Purpose of article.
The purpose of this article is to create a special purpose
nonprofit corporation with a comprehensive mission to:
(1) Assist the Department of Environmental Protection in utilizing a voluntary land stewardship program for the long-term
safeguarding of IEC Sites to ensure that the remedy remains
protective of human health and the environment and to facilitate
further economic development and reuse opportunities;
(2) Provide the Department of Environmental Protection and
other parties with a reliable source of oversight, monitoring and
information about IEC Sites under the voluntary land stewardship
(3) Establish a land bank as a legal and financial mechanism
to accept title to properties and assist to transform idled and
underutilized property back to productive reuse;
(4) Facilitate the reuse and redevelopment of certain property
by authorizing the conveyance of certain properties to a land bank
under a voluntary land bank program and assist the state and local
governments with the assembly and clearance of title to property in
a coordinated manner;
(5) Promote economic growth by implementing a state "Certified
Sites" program to identify sites that are ready for construction
within six months or less and that are certified "project-ready"
for specific industry profiles as well as other categories of sites
identified for economic development opportunities;
(6) Provide voluntary programs on a fee or subscription basis
with a nonprofit corporation to protect human health and the environmental as well as assist with a variety of economic
development efforts throughout the state; and
(7) Prescribe the powers and duties of the nonprofit
corporation; provide for the creation and appointment of boards to
govern nonprofit corporation and to prescribe their powers and
duties; and to extend protections against certain environmental
liabilities to the nonprofit corporation in order to protect the
entity from liability created by third parties.
The following words used in this article , unless the context
clearly indicates a different meaning, are defined as follows:
(1) "Agreement" means any agreement being entered into between
the nonprofit corporation and a business, corporation, private
party, local state government.
(2) "All Appropriate Inquiries" or "AAI" means the process of
evaluating a property's environmental conditions and assessing the
likelihood of any contamination. Every Phase I environmental
assessment must be conducted in compliance with the All Appropriate
Inquiries Final Rule at 40 C.F.R Part 312. The All Appropriate
Inquiries Final Rule provides that the ASTM E1527-05 standard is
consistent with the requirements of the final rule and may be used
to comply with the provisions of the rule. The specific reporting
requirements for all appropriate inquiries are provided in 40 C.F.R. §312.21 (Results of Inquiry by an Environmental
Professional) and §312.31 (The Degree of Obviousness of the
Presence or Likely Presence of Contamination at the Property, and
the Ability to Detect the Contamination by Appropriate
Investigation) of the final rule and Section 12 of ASTM E1527-05.
(3) "Board of directors" means the board of directors of the
corporation to be appointed under the provisions of section seven
of this article.
(4) "Certified sites" means that such sites are developable
properties that have been prequalified as having proper land use
designation, utilities, transportation improvements, availability
and pricing. The criteria include established pricing, terms and
conditions so that property acquisition can be negotiated quickly
and without time-consuming delays.
(5) "Charitable purposes" means the Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, subclasses of "lessening
the burden of the government" where the government identifies a
need for the nonprofit entity to assist with a governmental service
and the nonprofit collaborates with the government entity, and the
"environmental protection for the benefit of the public" where the
corporation's services benefit the general public by protecting
public health and the environment as well as assisting with state
and local economic development initiatives.
(6) "Contaminants" has the same meaning as defined in the
(7) "Corporation" means the West Virginia Land Stewardship
Corporation, a nonstock, nonprofit corporation to be established
under the West Virginia Nonprofit Corporation Act, chapter
thirty-one-e of this code and with nonprofit status under one or
more charitable purposes under Section 501(c) of the Internal
Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or under any corresponding
section of any future tax code.
(8) "Corporate directors" means the members of the board of
directors of the corporation.
(9) "DEP" means the State of West Virginia, acting by and
through the Department of Environmental Protection or any successor
(10) "Enforcement tools" means any order, permit, consent
decree or environmental covenant or similar mechanisms which
restrict or control certain land uses implemented at IEC sites.
(11) "Engineering controls" means physical controls or
measures designed to eliminate the potential for human exposure to
contamination by limiting direct contact with contaminated areas,
or controlling contaminants from migrating through environmental
media into soil, groundwater or off-site.
(12) "Enrolled sites" means properties enrolled and accepted for participation in the voluntary Land Stewardship Program.
(13) "Environmental acts" means the Surface Coal Mining and
Reclamation Act set forth in article three, chapter twenty-two of
this code; the Air Pollution Control Act set forth in article five,
chapter twenty-two of this code; the Water Pollution Control Act
set forth in article eleven, chapter twenty-two of this code; the
Groundwater Protection Act set forth in article twelve, chapter
twenty-two of this code; the solid waste landfill closure
assistance program set forth in article sixteen, chapter twenty-two
of this code; the Hazardous Waste Management Act set forth in
article eighteen, chapter twenty-two of this code; Section 103(a)
of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and
Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C.A. §9603(a)); Section 304 of the
Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (42
U.S.C.A. Chapter 116); the Occupational Safety and Health Act (29
U.S.C.A. §§651 to 678); the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act,
as amended, (42 U.S.C.A. §6901, et seq.); and the Toxic Substances
Control Act (15 U.S.C.A. §2601, et seq.) and any applicable
regulation promulgated thereunder.
(14) "Governmental controls" means any state laws, ordinances,
orders, permits, consent decrees and similar mechanisms which
restrict or control certain land uses implemented at IEC sites.
(15) "IEC Sites" means sites remediated or closed under a federal or state environmental program, including brownfields,
underground storage tanks, closed landfills, open dumps, hazardous
waste sites, and former mining sites with ongoing water treatment
as part of mine reclamation efforts.
(16) "Informational devices" means deed notices or other
written documents that describe the remediation that was conducted
on an IEC Site, the constituents of concern and the remediation
standards that were achieved. Informational devices are filed with
property records as an advisory to provide environmental
information to future buyers or users of the IEC site.
(17) "Institutional Controls" or "ICs" means administrative
and legal controls that do not involve construction or physically
changing the site and are generally divided into four categories:
(1) Government controls; (2) proprietary controls; (3) enforcement
tools; and (4) informational devices. ICs are nonengineering
measures that help minimize the potential for human exposure to
contamination and/or protect the integrity of the remedy by
limiting land or resource use.
(18) "Nonprofit corporation" means a corporation established
under the West Virginia Nonprofit Corporation Act, article
thirty-one-e, article two of this code to fulfill the purposes of
(19) "Pollutants" has the same meaning as defined in the environmental acts.
(20) "Proprietary controls" means legal property interests
created under real property laws that rely on legal documents
recorded in the chain of title for the site, and "ran with the
land" to bind future landowners. Examples of proprietary controls
may include environmental covenants, deed land use restrictions,
water withdrawal prohibitions and continuing right-of-entry
easements for former owners or regulators to inspect, monitor and
maintain the IECs.
(21) "Regulated substances" has the same meaning as defined in
the environmental acts.
(22) "Releases" has the same meaning as defined in the
Part 2. West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation.
§31-21-5. Creation of the West Virginia Land Stewardship
(a) The corporation shall be organized as a nonprofit
corporation under the West Virginia Nonprofit Corporation Act,
chapter thirty-one-e of this code to fulfill the purposes of this
(b) The corporation must seek nonprofit status under one or
more charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c) of
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or under any corresponding section of any future tax code.
(c) The corporate name for the corporation shall be the "West
Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation."
(d) The corporation shall be a nonprofit and the corporation
may not have or issue shares of stock or make distributions from
such shares of stock.
(e) Except as otherwise provided in this article, the
corporation may do all things necessary or convenient to implement
the purposes, objectives and provisions of this article and the
purposes, objectives and powers delegated to the board of directors
of a nonprofit corporation by other laws or executive orders,
including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Adopt, amend and repeal bylaws for the regulation of its
affairs and the conduct of its business;
(2) Establish the service offerings and related fees for such
services under each of the voluntary programs described herein;
(3) Sue and be sued in its own name and plead and be
impleaded, including, but not limited to, defending the corporation
in an action arising or resulting from the services, programs and
responsibilities arising under this article;
(4) Solicit and accept gifts, grants, labor, loans, services
and other aid from any person, or the federal government, this
state or a political subdivision of this state or any agency of the federal government or a state institution of higher education or
nonprofit affiliates or an intergovernmental entity created under
the laws of this state or participate in any other way in a program
of the federal government;
(5) Procure insurance against risk and loss in connection with
the programs, property, assets or activities of the corporation;
(6) Invest money of the corporation, at the discretion of the
board of directors in instruments, obligations, securities or
property determined proper by the board of directors of the
corporation and name and use depositories for its money;
(7) Employ legal and technical experts, contractors,
consultants, agents or employees, permanent or temporary, paid from
the funds of the corporation. The corporation shall determine the
qualifications, duties and compensation of those it employs;
(8) Contract for goods and services and engage personnel as
necessary and engage the services of private consultants, managers,
legal counsel, engineers, accountants and auditors for rendering
professional environmental, legal and financial assistance and
advice payable from funds of the corporation;
(9) Create limited liability corporations or other sole
purpose entities or devices to accept real property as part of
administering its programs;
(10) Study, develop and prepare the reports or plans the corporation considers necessary to assist it in the exercise of its
powers under this article and to monitor and evaluate progress
under this article;
(11) Enter into contracts for the management of, the
collection of rent from, or the sale of real property held by the
(12) Do all other things necessary or convenient to achieve
the objectives and purposes of the authority or other laws that
relate to the purposes and responsibility of the corporation.
(a) The enumeration of a power in this article may not be
construed as a limitation upon the general powers of the
corporation. The powers granted under this article are in addition
to those powers granted by any other statute or as provided in
articles of incorporation filed with the Secretary of State.
(b) The property of the corporation and its income and
operations are exempt from all taxation by this state or any of its
(c) The corporation may not levy any power to issue tax-exempt
financing or issue bonds.
(d) The corporation does not have the power of eminent domain
or the ability to condemn property.
(e) The exercise by the corporation of powers and duties under this article and its activities under the programs described herein
shall be considered a necessary public purpose and for the benefit
of the public.
(f) The corporation shall report biannually to the Legislature
on the activities of the corporation.
(g) The operations of the corporation are subject to an audit
by an independent auditor or the State of West Virginia as
determined by the Department of Environmental Protection.
(h) The corporation is not liable under the environmental acts
or common law equivalents to the state or to any other person by
virtue of the fact that the corporation is fulfilling the purposes
of this article including, but not limited to, providing land
stewardship services or accepting title to property under any
program herein unless:
(1) The corporation, its employees or agents directly cause an
immediate release or directly exacerbate a release of regulated
substances on or from a property that is an enrolled site or
accepted into the land bank program; or
(2) The corporation, its employees or agents knowingly and
willfully do an action which caused an immediate release of
regulated substances or violates an environmental act. Liability
pursuant to this article is limited to the cost for a response
action which may be directly attributable to the corporation's activities, and only if these activities are the proximate and
efficient cause of the release or violation. Ownership or control
of the property after accepting title in the land bank program does
not by itself trigger liability.
(i) The corporation shall adopt a code of ethics for its
directors, officers and employees.
(j) The corporation shall establish policies and procedures
requiring the disclosure of relationships that may give rise to a
conflict of interest. The governing body of the corporation shall
require that any member of the governing body with a direct or
indirect interest in any matter before the corporation disclose the
member's interest to the governing body before the board takes any
action on the matter.
(k) The programs that are established under this article and
administered by the corporation are voluntary programs. Parties
can participate in the land stewardship program, certified sites
program and land bank program at their option.
(l) The state may contract with the corporation for services
for properties for which the state is responsible and may enter
into long-term contracts for services that are funded under a trust
agreement or provided in an escrow account.
§31-21-7. Board of directors.
(a) The purposes, powers and duties of the corporation shall be exercised by a board of directors. The corporation's board
consists of the following eleven members:
(1) The Governor shall appoint five residents of this state as
(2) The West Virginia Chamber of Commerce shall appoint one
(3) West Virginia Manufacturers' Association shall appoint one
(4) The Secretary of the Department of Environmental
Protection or his or her designee who shall serve as an ex officio
(5) The Secretary of the Department of Commerce or his or her
designee who shall serve as an ex officio nonvoting member;
(6) One member of the Senate appointed by the Senate President
who shall serve as a nonvoting member; and
(7) One member of the House of Delegates appointed by the
speaker who shall serve as a nonvoting member.
(b) The members appointed by the Governor, the West Virginia
Chamber of Commerce and the West Virginia Manufacturers'
Association shall serve initial terms of four years. The members
appointed by the Secretary of the Department of Environmental
Protection and the Secretary of the Department of Commerce shall
serve initial appointments of three years. The members appointed by the Senate President and the Speaker of the House shall serve
initial terms of two years. Thereafter, all terms shall be four
years for each member.
(c) Corporate directors shall serve without compensation, but
shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses.
(d) The corporate directors shall appoint a person to serve as
the executive director of the corporation. A member of the board
is not eligible to hold the position of executive director.
(e) Subject to the approval of the board, the executive
director shall supervise, and be responsible for, the performance
of the functions and programs of the corporation under this
article. The executive director shall attend the meetings of the
board and shall provide the board of directors with a regular
report describing the activities and financial condition of the
corporation. The executive director shall furnish the board of
directors with information or reports governing the operation of
the corporation as the board requires.
(f) The rights conferred on the corporation or any person
described hereunder are not exclusive of and shall be in addition
to any other right which the person may have or may hereafter
acquire under any statute, provision of articles of incorporation,
bylaws, agreement, vote of corporate directors or otherwise.
Part 3. Voluntary Land Stewardship Program.
§31-21-8. Voluntary land stewardship program.
(a) When the voluntary land stewardship program is
implemented, remediation parties and site owners of IEC Sites will
have the option, for a fee, to participate in this program. The fee
will be established by the corporation for services provided for an
enrolled site as that term is defined in section four of this
(b) The universe of sites or properties covered under this
section of the statute includes, but is not limited, to those with
IEC Sites remediated or closed under a federal or state
environmental program, including brownfields, underground storage
tanks, closed landfills, open dumps, hazardous waste sites, and
former mining sites with ongoing water treatment as part of mine
(c) The corporation is further authorized to provide at a
minimum the following voluntary land stewardship services for
(1) Establish or maintain any ICs by filing the appropriate
documents or updating such documents when the site is leased,
conveyed, subdivided or when remediation occurs: Provided, That the
corporation's responsibilities for such activities are expressly
identified for the entity itself and provided in agreements for the
IEC Site that will be negotiated when a site is enrolled in the voluntary land stewardship program;
(2) Conduct physical inspections of the enrolled sites,
including inspecting or monitoring any ECs (e.g., media treatment
systems, fences, caps and other mechanisms used as part of the
remedy at the IEC Site) and site activities to assure that the
enrolled sites continue to comply with the IECs, such as
maintenance of ECs and inspecting for compliance with restrictions
of specific land uses;
(3) Monitor and operate any required media treatment systems
and/or conduct routine surface water, groundwater and/or gas
monitoring and prepare any monitoring or inspection reports that
may be part of the corporation's responsibilities under site
(4) Conduct periodic reviews of the county land records to
monitor transfers or deed filings to assure that such records are
consistent with the required IECs for the enrolled sites, and
provide notices to the clerk of the county commission about the
results of monitoring or tracking of such records;
(5) Develop administrative records concerning the remediation
at enrolled sites in an electronic database, respond to inquiries
and coordinate the sharing of such data among various stakeholders,
including the Department of Environmental Protection, current
owners, the remediating parties, if not the owners, other state or local agencies (such as economic development agencies), assessors,
potential purchasers, landowners and tenants;
(6) Develop and maintain records and information about
enrolled sites for posting on the Department of Environmental
Protection environmental registry, or any other registry that is
used for tracking IECs for IEC Sites in West Virginia and provide
for public access to such information; and
(7) Coordinate and share data with West Virginia Miss Utility,
the "One-Call" System, including verifying the location of ECs on
enrolled sites, providing information about the remediation, and
sharing any health and safety plans or soils management plans that
may be associated with an enrolled site in order to assist any
planned excavation at the enrolled site.
The enrollment and acceptance process to the land stewardship
program will be developed and include an underwriting review that
focuses on: (1) The nature and extent of contamination; (2) the
selected remedy; (3) the type of services selected and duration
thereof; and (4) the financial costs and risks associated with
fulfilling the services.
Part 4. State Certified Sites Program.
§31-21-10. State certified sites program.
(a) This article hereby authorizes the establishment of a state certified sites program. The program shall consist of the
development and preparation of certain site specific decision ready
documentation or reports that will enable the expedited property
transaction for sites that participate in the certified sites
(b) The objectives of the certified sites program are to:
(1) Establish an inventory of identified sites that are ready
for redevelopment and construction within twelve months or less
from acquisition and certifies these properties as "project-ready"
for specific industry profiles and other categories of developable
properties available that can increase economic development efforts
within the state;
(2) Improve the state's competitive edge by giving more
certainty in time, steps and costs to businesses expanding or
locating within the state;
(3) Develop standard criteria that most real estate developers
or businesses need when selecting a site for development;
(4) Develop a central source of certified sites and assist
local government in identifying potential redevelopment properties;
(5) Demonstrate that the state is committed to promoting and
expediting economic development projects for the benefit of its
(c) The corporation shall issue a site certification if it
determines that the decision ready document has been prepared and
completed in accord with the requirements set forth by the
corporation. The corporation may require some or all of the
following information based on the site specific circumstances of
the property to be certified.
(d) The issuance of a site certification shall be based on the
review and approval of the information submitted to the corporation
in an application for the site certification.
§31-21-11. Minimum standards.
(a) The minimum standards listed below must be met for a site
to be considered for certification:
(1) Letter of support from a mayor, county commissioner or
local economic development official;
(2) Site ownership/control;
(A) Preliminary fifty-year title report and description of
liens and encumbrances;
(B) Letter from property owner/option holder stating that site
is for sale/lease. If possible, proposed pricing or transactional
requirements with a description of any on-site improvements,
current level of investment, and whether property can be parceled;
(C) Acreage; and
(D) Full legal property description.
(A) ALTA map;
(B) Site map showing lot layout, transportation access, roads
and likely access points;
(C) USGS topographical map; and
(D) Aerial map.
(4) Phase I environmental site assessment performed by a
certified professional within the prior six months, if appropriate,
a Phase II environmental site assessment performed by a certified
professional within the prior six months. For any properties being
remediated, documentation about the status and cleanup objectives.
Remediated sites provide documentation of liability protection.
(5) Wetland delineation demonstrating that impacts to waters
of the state will be avoided or mitigation plan approved by the
Department of Environmental Protection.
(6) Water and wastewater infrastructure to property line or
demonstrate the ability to construct and pay for the infrastructure
up to property line. Capacity clearly defined.
(7) Transportation infrastructure to property line, including
type of roads near site such as whether the roads are local, state
or U.S. roads.
(8) Electric infrastructure to property line. Capacity clearly
(9) Natural gas infrastructure to property line. Capacity
(10) Water infrastructure to property line. Capacity clearly
(11) Sewer infrastructure to property line. Capacity clearly
(12) Telecommunications and/or high speed communications
infrastructure to property line. Capacity clearly identified.
(b) The complete list of certified sites criteria will be
developed into a program application along with appropriate fees
for participation as the certified sites program is implemented,
and will be revised from time to time as warranted.
Part 5. Land Bank Program.
§31-21-12. Land bank program.
(a) This article hereby authorizes the establishment of a
voluntary state land bank program. The corporation under the land
bank program is authorized to acquire properties, hold title and
prepare them for future use. Prior to acquiring any properties,
the corporation shall conduct all appropriate inquiry to determine
the environmental conditions or issues associated with a property.
(b) The objective of the land bank program is to assist state
and local government efforts for economic develop by accepting
formerly used or developable properties and prepare the properties so they can be conveyed to other parties to locate or expand
businesses and create or retain jobs in the state;
(c) The corporation may acquire by gift, devise, transfer,
exchange, foreclosure, purchase or otherwise on terms and
conditions and in a manner the corporation considers proper, real
or personal property or rights or interests in real or personal
(d) Real property acquired by the corporation may be by
purchase and sale agreement, lease purchase agreement, installment
sales contract, land contract or otherwise as may be negotiated or
structured. The corporation may acquire real property or rights or
interests in real property for any purpose the corporation
considers necessary to carry out the purposes of this article
including, but not limited to, one or more of the following
(1) Use or development of property the corporation has
(2) Facilitate the assembly of property for sale or lease to
any other public or private person, including, but not limited to,
a nonprofit or for profit corporation;
(3) Conduct environmental remediation and monitoring
(e) The corporation may also acquire by purchase, on terms and conditions and in a manner the corporation considers proper,
property or rights or interest in property.
(f) The corporation may hold and own in its name any property
acquired by it or conveyed to it by this state, a foreclosing
governmental unit, a local unit of government, an intergovernmental
entity created under the laws of this state or any other public or
private person including, but not limited to, tax reverted property
and property with or without clear title.
(g) All deeds, mortgages, contracts, leases, purchases or
other agreements regarding property of the corporation, including
agreements to acquire or dispose of real property, may be approved
by and executed in the name of the corporation or any single
purpose entity created for the transaction.
(h) All property held by the corporation shall be inventoried
and classified by the nonprofit according to title status and
suitability for use.
(i) A document including, but not limited to, a deed
evidencing the transfer under this article of one or more parcels
of property to the corporation by this state or a political
subdivision of this state may be recorded with the register of
deeds office in the county in which the property is located without
the payment of a fee.
§31-21-13. Preserve property value.
(a) The corporation may, without the approval of a local unit
of government in which property held by the corporation is located,
control, hold, manage, maintain, operate, repair, lease as lessor,
secure, prevent the waste or deterioration of, demolish and take
all other actions necessary to preserve the value of the property
it holds or owns.
(b) The corporation may take or perform the following with
respect to property held or owned by the corporation:
(1) Grant or acquire a license, easement, or option with
respect to property as the corporation determines is reasonably
necessary to achieve the purposes of this article;
(2) Fix, charge, and collect rents, fees and charges for use
of property under the control of the corporation or for services
provided by the corporation;
(3) Pay any tax or special assessment due on property acquired
or owned by the corporation;
(4) Take any action, provide any notice or institute any
proceeding required to clear or quiet title to property held by the
corporation in order to establish ownership by and vest title to
property in the corporation; and
(5) Remediate environmental contamination on any property held
by the corporation.
(c) Except as the corporation otherwise agrees by agreement or otherwise, on terms and conditions, and in a manner and for an
amount of consideration the corporation considers proper, fair and
valuable, including for no monetary consideration, the corporation
may convey, sell, transfer, exchange, lease as lessor or otherwise
dispose of property or rights or interests in property in which the
corporation holds a legal interest to any public or private person
for value determined by the corporation.
(d) The corporation shall be made a party to and shall defend
any action or proceeding concerning title claims against property
held by the corporation.
§31-21-14. Contaminated property.
(a) If the Department of Environmental Protection determines
that conditions on a property transferred to the corporation under
this article represents an immediate threat to public health,
safety and welfare, or to the environment, the corporation may not
convey, sell, transfer, exchange, lease or otherwise dispose of the
property until after a determination by the Department of
Environmental Protection that the threat has been remediated and/or
eliminated and that conveyance, sale, transfer, exchange, lease or
other disposal of the property by the corporation will not
interfere with any of the Department of Environmental Protection's
response activities and will coordinate with the Department of
Environmental Protection about the corporations activities at such property.
(b) If the corporation has reason to believe that property
held by the corporation may be the site of environmental
contamination, the corporation shall provide the Department of
Environmental Protection with any information in the possession of
the corporation that suggests that the property may be the site of
(c) If property held by the corporation is a facility as
defined under environmental acts as a site impacted by
contamination, pollution, hazardous substances, hazardous or other
wastes prior to the sale or transfer of the property under this
section, the property is subject to all of the following:
(1) Upon reasonable written notice from the Department of
Environmental Protection, the corporation shall provide access to
the Department of Environmental Protection, its employees, its
contractors and any other person expressly authorized by the
Department of Environmental Protection to conduct an investigation
and/or response activities at the property. Reasonable written
notice may include, but is not limited to, notice by electronic
mail or facsimile, in advance of access as the Department of
Environmental Protection and corporation may agree.
(2) For the Department of Environmental Protection to protect
public health, safety and welfare or the environment, the corporation shall place and record deed restrictions on the
property as authorized under state environmental statute.
§31-21-15. Liberal construction.
This article shall be construed liberally to effectuate the
legislative intent and the purposes as complete and independent
authorization for the performance of every act and thing authorized
by this article, and all powers granted shall be broadly
interpreted to effectuate the intent and purposes and not as a
limitation of powers in the exercise of its powers and duties under
this article and its powers relating to property held by the
authority, the authority has complete control as if it represented
a private property owner and may not be subject to restrictions
imposed on the authority by the charter, ordinances or resolutions
of a local unit of government.
§31-21-16. Completed purpose.
If the corporation has completed the purposes for which the
corporation was organized, the board of directors, by vote of at
least a majority of a quorum of the directors and with the written
consent of the Governor, may provide for the dissolution of the
corporation and may provide for the transfer of any property held
by the corporation as required by agreement or, if there are no
related agreements, then to the Department of Environmental
Protection or state agency or to another nonprofit corporation as directed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
§31-21-17. Conflicts of interest.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this article to the
contrary, officers and employees of the corporation and its board
of directors may hold appointments to offices of any other
corporation or business and be corporate directors or officers or
employees of other entities but are prohibited to be a party or
otherwise participate in the transfer of real property and funds
from the corporation to the corporation or business for which they
§31-21-18. No waiver of sovereign immunity.
Nothing contained in this article may be determined or
construed to waive or abrogate in any way the sovereign immunity of
the state or to deprive a governing board of a state created
nonprofit corporation or any officer or employee thereof of
§31-21-19. Corporation obligations are not state obligations.
Obligations of the corporation are not debts or obligations of
the Department of Environmental Protection or the state.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to creates the nonprofit
West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation Act. The bill makes
findings, declaring policy and stating its purpose. The bill
defines terms. The bill enumerates powers. The bill establishes a
board of directors. The bill sets forth responsibilities. The bill
provides for underwriting. The bill establishes a state certified sites program. The bill sets forth minimum standards. The bill
establishes a land bank program. The bill preserves property
values. The bill provides for contaminated property. The bill
provides for conflicts of interest. The bill provides a nonwaiver
of sovereign immunity. The bill collectively addresses several
environmental and economic development programs established to
promote the productive reuse of idled and underutilized commercial,
industrial and mining properties. The bill supports more efficient
use of existing public infrastructure. The bill encourages
increased job creation with living wages, renewed community
vitality and tax revenue generation while protecting public health
and natural resources. The bill provides that obligations of the
corporation are not those of the state.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.