For Release: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
DEC Announces That Remediation Activities at Eastman Business Park Will Continue
Following Kodak's Bankruptcy Settlement
Environmental Trust Established for Cleanup and Monitoring Efforts at the Business Park and Investigation of Genesee River
As part of the federal court approval of Kodak's bankruptcy settlement today, the company will create an environmental trust to fund remediation and monitoring activities at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) in Rochester and an investigation to assess whether the Genesee River suffered damages associated with discharges from Kodak's operations, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. DEC will administer the trust, which is funded by Kodak.
"The assessment and mitigation of environmental damage affecting Eastman Business Park and the Genesee River is an important component of Kodak's bankruptcy settlement agreement," Commissioner Martens said. "Governor Andrew Cuomo directed DEC to develop a plan to address environmental issues at the site, which will help to attract prospective developers. The environmental trust fund will ensure the continued cleanup and monitoring of contamination at the business park and provide funding to investigate impacts to the Genesee River. These actions will create a healthier environment to attract economic development and jobs."
Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter said, "For decades, Eastman Business Park has been the epicenter of high tech manufacturing prowess in our region, and with this agreement, it will continue to play that role for the foreseeable future. I have been glad to work with the EPA, New York State DEC and Kodak to strike a balance between the environmental needs of the community and the jobs and companies supported by the Park. With this agreement in place, the future looks bright for Eastman Business Park, and I look forward to continuing to work with the existing companies that occupy the Park and to welcoming more companies and more jobs to this wonderful facility in the years to come."
State Senator Joe Robach said, "The creation of this environmental trust is great news for the future of Eastman Business Park and its ability to market itself to potential tenants. Not only is there a plan in place for remediation of current contamination, this fund will also provide for future screening, ensuring that current and potential tenants won't be responsible for any past pollution. Eastman Business Park is a key to future job creation for the Rochester community, and this agreement will allow for continued economic development and job creation at the park."
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, "Today's approved settlement marks yet another critical step forward for both Kodak and the Eastman Business Park. The establishment of an environmental trust fund ensures the continued cleanup and remediation of both the property and the surrounding area for many years to come and ultimately enhances marketability of the Business Park. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo, the DEC, and all of our local partners who have remained fully committed to ensuring a bright future for the Business Park and our region."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, "The establishment of the Environmental Trust Fund will encourage future business investment and job creation at Eastman Business Park. This new trust will help continue the growth of the advanced manufacturing sector at EBP and further bolster EBP as one the Finger Lakes region's critical centers of employment. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the DEC for their part in creating the trust and providing stability to the site."
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, "Today's announcement is great news for the future of Eastman Business Park and our local economy. By clearing this major environmental hurdle, both existing and future businesses looking to relocate in the Park can be assured this site remains a premier location to do business. As we look forward to the continued development of Eastman Business Park, Monroe County is proud to work collaboratively with stakeholders across the region to promote a shared vision of a vibrant local economy based on innovation and creativity."
Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, "We welcome this ruling by the Court that absolves Eastman Business Park from the legacy environmental concerns that may have deterred certain businesses from locating here. This is a strong signal that we are definitely open for business."
Under the bankruptcy settlement approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Kodak is required to establish and fund a $49 million environmental trust. If the fund is depleted, New York State will cover costs up to $50 million for additional remediation or environmental protection. If total cleanup costs exceed $99 million, Kodak and DEC will each be responsible for 50 percent of the remediation costs.
DEC will schedule a public information session in the future to explain its approach in developing an effective work plan and remedy for the Genesee River. A draft Investigative/Interim Remedial Measures plan is expected to be released for public review and comment in late summer or early fall.
The bankruptcy settlement also provides an environmental liability release to prospective redevelopers related to historic contamination of the site. This will ensure that companies seeking to reuse or redevelop the site are not responsible for cleanup of past spills and discharges.
The Eastman Business Park is a 1,200-acre technology and industrial campus formerly owned and operated by Kodak. The Monroe County site, which stretches from the City of Rochester to the Town of Greece, features more than one million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse space.