I understand that the cleanup is happening under a voluntary act 2 opt in? What were the benefits to opting into this program?

The information provided below was largely obtained from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Overview of the Land Recycling Program Fact Sheet, which can be accessed through this link: DEP Fact Sheet.

The Land Recycling Program (which actually includes Acts 2, 3, 4, 6 and 68, but is commonly referred to as “Act 2”) encourages the recycling and redevelopment of old industrial sites, such as the PES Refinery. It sets standards, by law, that are protective of human health and the environment and that consider future use. It provides potential developers with clear cleanup standards based on risk, not a moving target in a negotiated agreement, and provides an end to liability when that cleanup standard is met. This makes old industrial sites more attractive to potential developers. As a result, many sites have been and will be redeveloped with Act 2, helping many of the Commonwealth’s urban and rural municipalities to provide jobs and economic growth while remediating environmental impacts, ensuring protection of human health and the environment.

Some additional advantages of using Act 2 for the cleanup of the site include:

Uniform cleanup standards – Act 2 establishes environmental remediation standards to provide a uniform framework for cleanups. The standards established under Act 2 are used for most voluntary and mandatory cleanups conducted in Pennsylvania.

Standardized review procedures – Act 2 describes the submission and review procedures used at sites, thus providing a uniform process for all sites statewide. Uniformity makes it easier to prepare submissions and follow through the steps necessary to remediate a site, which also provides more transparency to the public in the process. It also establishes timeframes in which regulators must complete review of submissions.

State releases from liability – Act 2 provides owners or developers with releases from state liability for a site that has been remediated, according to the standards and procedures in the Act. Act 3 extends liability protection to financiers, such as economic development agencies, lenders, and fiduciaries (fiduciaries are those who act as a trustee, executor, or administrator for the benefit of another person). These provisions are intended to reduce the liability concerns that may inhibit involvement with/cleanup of contaminated sites.

Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with EPA – In April 2004, DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that clarifies how sites remediated under Pennsylvania’s brownfields program also may satisfy requirements for three key federal laws: the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The framework outlined in the MOA provides procedures for coordinating cleanups under Act 2 with federal cleanup requirements under RCRA, CERCLA, and TSCA, where applicable. Specifically, the MOA allows for Act 2 to address the cleanup of the PES Refinery not only in relation to historic releases and tank closure (under the Pennsylvania Tank Program), but it also provides for the closure of EPA’s concerns (under the RCRA program), which will result in a more comprehensive site cleanup. In 2011, the facility was entered into the One Cleanup Program.

Evergreen’s participation in Act 2 is not voluntary, but many of the benefits still apply.  Sunoco was obligated to enter the Act 2 cleanup program through legal agreements signed with PADEP, and Evergreen must complete the cleanup pursuant to those agreements.