Text of Resor Amendment

The following is the text of the Resor amendment to the Economic Stimulus Bill dealing with environmental liability and rail trails.  Governor Romney's line-item veto of this section was overridden on July 18, 2021 by the House by a vote of 155 to 0, and overridden by the Senate on July 26, 2006, by a vote of 38 to 0.

SECTION 14.  Said chapter 23A is hereby further amended by inserting after section 3H the following section:—

Section 3I.  (a)  Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, the department shall upon receipt of qualifying applications, expend not less than $500,000 annually in matching grants to assist municipalities to purchase environmental insurance naming as an additional insured the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or the executive office of transportation and construction, as applicable, for purposes of establishing and maintaining rail-trails, as defined in section 2 of chapter 21E and section 35A of chapter 82, utilizing the Brownfield’s Redevelopment Access to Capital Policy Form or similar or replacement form, with  terms, conditions, amendments and endorsements as appropriate under the circumstances of the proposed rail-trail project, and with coverage limits of at least $3,000,000 per incident, a deductible of at most $50,000 per incident, and a term of at least 5 years.

(b)  Unless specifically required by federal law in connection with any grant for construction of a rail-trail, a municipality that has applied for and received a grant and has purchased the environmental insurance as described in subsection (a) shall not be required to furnish to any person, authority or governmental entity, any other form of environmental insurance, or any defense, indemnification or hold harmless agreement with respect to any claims, injuries, costs, damages or other relief arising out of or related to the pre-existing release or threat of release of oil or hazardous materials at or from the project site as those terms are defined in chapter 21E, in connection with its design, acquisition, construction, use or maintenance of the rail-trail for which the application is made.

(c)  The department shall promulgate  regulations, policies, or directives necessary to expedite the receipt and approval of grant applications from municipalities under this section.

The following summary was written to accompany the amendment:

One of the major impediments to rail trail development  is MBTA policy with respect to transferring land under its control to communities.  The MBTA continues to insist that municipalities must indemnify the MBTA from lawsuits. The Legislature and the Department of Environmental Protection have previously addressed rail-trail environmental liability and related issues in several ways, but the core concern over environmental indemnification remains a stumbling block to new rail-trails in the Commonwealth. This amendment is a "win-win" solution to the stalemate that has been preventing rail trail development.