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For Release: Thursday, January 20, 2022

New York State's Brownfield Cleanup Program Marks Successful Year in 2021

State Cleanup Program Continues to Advance Comprehensive Cleanups and Economic Redevelopment Statewide

42 Cleanups Completed in 2021, 90 New Sites Accepted into BCP

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today celebrated another year of successful environmental cleanups as part of the State's Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). In 2021, DEC issued a total of 42 Certificates of Completion and accepted 90 new sites into the program, helping to protect public health and the environment across New York State while revitalizing neighborhoods and strengthening local economies.

"New York's Brownfield Cleanup Program is a powerful tool transforming former industrial properties across the state, improving quality of life, and revitalizing communities," Commissioner Seggos said. "With site visits to cleanups from Buffalo to Long Island, I've seen first-hand just how valuable this program is for New York. During 2021, DEC's Brownfield Cleanup Program completed 42 cleanups and accepted 90 new sites into the program. With Governor Kathy Hochul's leadership, DEC is bolstering our commitment to restore, redevelop, and revitalize abandoned and underutilized properties in even more neighborhoods, particularly in communities historically overburdened by environmental pollution."

In her 2022 State of the State Agenda and 2022-2023 Executive Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul proposed to build upon the success of New York State's BCP by extending and expanding the program, which is set to expire in December 2022. The proposal, which includes the 10-year extension, would reauthorize the program and improve it by making property tax credits available in certain disadvantaged, low-income communities, and providing credits for the development of certain renewable energy facility sites to help focus BCP-driven redevelopment and meet the State's ambitious climate goals. Governor Hochul also plans to grow the State's Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program, which provides communities with guidance, expertise, and financial assistance to help develop revitalization strategies for areas affected by urban blight or economic distress. For more information about the BCP, visit DEC's website.

"The Brownfield Cleanup Program continues to transform communities from blight to economic and environmentally sustainable areas across the state," said Acting Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. "Under Governor Hochul's leadership, we will continue to redevelop and revitalize these underutilized and dormant areas and continue to make our communities stronger."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Brownfield Cleanup Program is a critical tool in the fight to remove blight and decay from communities, safeguard the environment, and transform contaminated sites into high quality neighborhood assets and affordable homes. I commend Governor Hochul for embracing the tremendous potential of the Brownfield Cleanup Program and working to expand its reach. By growing and improving the program, we can make sure it revitalizes more communities across New York and returns distressed properties to productive use."

DEC oversees New York State's BCP, which encourages the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as "brownfields," so these sites can be redeveloped and returned to productive use. A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding health-based or environmental standards or applicable cleanup objectives based on the anticipated future use of the property. The program encourages private-sector cleanups of brownfields and promotes redevelopment of these sites as a means to revitalize communities. Site uses include recreation, housing, business, or other uses. The BCP is a sustainable alternative to greenfield development and helps remove barriers to, and provide tax incentives for, the redevelopment of urban brownfields.

Since its inception in 2003, DEC has approved 1,156 applications to the program, and to date, the State has issued Certificates of Completion (COCs) to 543 formerly contaminated properties statewide. DEC issues COCs based on its review of the Final Engineering Report, which certifies the remediation work performed by the applicants meets cleanup requirements for the protection of public health and the environment. The COC triggers the availability of tax credits for eligible parties and also allows the certificate holder to redevelop the site, subject to certain restrictions, if applicable.

Some completed BCP projects are located in the New York Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Areas. The BCP and BOA programs complement one another and along with DEC partners, including the State Department of Health and State Office of Homes and Community Renewal, help transform former industrial sites into community assets that support businesses, jobs, and revenue for local economies, as well as new housing opportunities and public amenities.

In addition, in December 2021, DEC proposed changes to the BCP, State Superfund, and other cleanup program regulations. This rulemaking would create new cleanup standards for the oversight of the emerging contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS), and strengthen the implementation of cleanups. To comment on the proposed regulations or attend one of the two virtual hearings on the draft rulemaking, go to DEC's website. The public comment period on the proposed changes ends on April 21, 2022.

For more information on the BCP, visit DEC's BCP webpage. A list of sites that have been completed and issued a COC (leaves DEC website) in New York can be found at the New York State Open Data website.

Photos of cleanups Courtesy of NYSDEC:

People standing at construction site with hardhats and safety vests on
DEC Commissioner Seggos meets with developers at six-acre Silo City Brownfield Cleanup Program site along the Buffalo River.

People standing in brick-walled room with large window wearing hard hats and safety vests
DEC Commissioner Seggos and developers tour former malthouse and flour mill at Silo City now under development as part of a $43 million project.

People standing near waterfront with cranes and cityscape in the background
DEC Commissioner Seggos and Niagara River Habitat Ecologist visit habitat improvement project and in-water habitat construction area at Spicer Creek Wildlife Management Area along the Niagara River.

People walking along large, decrepit building
DEC Commissioner Seggos and then-Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul tour former Tonawanda Coke main plant site.

rainy city street with old, rundown buildings city street with updated buildings and apartments
'Before' and 'After' comparison of the new Hillside Crossing Apartments in Schenectady's Hamilton Hill neighborhood. Transformed from industrial site to affordable housing thanks in part to DEC's Brownfield Cleanup Program and NYSHCR.

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