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Release Date: 01/29/2002
Contact Information: Peyton Fleming, EPA Community Public Affairs Office, (617) 918-1008

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA) today announced that they have formalized a "Prospective Purchaser Agreement" for the 52 acres of land to be transferred from General Electric to PEDA. The agreement ensures that PEDA will not be sued by the federal government for the costs of cleaning up existing contamination. The agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

"With this prospective purchaser agreement, EPA has taken the issue of environmental liabilities out of the equation," said EPA Regional Administrator Robert Varney. "This should pave the way for PEDA to market the site and attract new businesses to Pittsfield to set up shop without any concerns about liability."

The existing contamination on the site is already slated to be cleaned up by GE as part of the massive cleanup settlement between the government and GE. The settlement was approved in fall 2000 by the Federal District Court. GE is slated to provide approximately $45 million worth of redevelopment aid to PEDA and the city to help jump start the project. Once remediation is complete and the buildings are demolished, the site will be ready for redevelopment.

"I look forward to seeing the construction of new buildings, the creation of new jobs and to seeing this property returned to productive use," Varney added.

The agreement was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 25. The deadline for public comments is Feb. 25, 2002. Comments should be addressed to the Regional Hearing Clerk, U.S. EPA Region 1, 1 Congress St., Suite 1100, Mail Code RAA, Boston, MA 02114.