Charitable Trust Fund Model
During Fall and Winter 2007-2008, The Western Pennsylvania Brownfields Center enjoyed the company of Troy Frederick, a graduate of Vermont Law School. Troy’s semester long research project allowed him to explore environmental liability, which continues to be a constraint for owners of contaminated properties. Troy explored a model for a charitable trust fund, potentially administered by the Commonwealth, as a novel liability relief mechanism. The ingenuity of this model lies in two of its proposed characteristics: 1) the effectiveness of liability protection would not be contingent upon the solvency of the party assuming the liability, as is the case in the Environmental Liability Transfer Companies; and, 2) the Commonwealth would waive any environmental liability through its management of the trust. Troy presented his paper at the Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania’s April 2008 Business of Brownfields Conference, during which he discussed these opportunities as well as potential challenges facing such a trust.