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State Senate passes brownfield cleanup program extension

by jmaloni

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Fri, Jun 20th 2014 11:35 pm

Bill would continue important economic and environmental revitalization tool

The New York State Senate passed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-I-Buffalo, that extends a program to clean up potentially contaminated sites and put them back to productive use.

Bill S7878 extends the state's brownfield cleanup program to 2017 and continues the economic development incentives provided to developers when they complete investigations, cleanup environmental contamination and increase economic investment in communities throughout the state.

"The brownfield cleanup program is a critical tool that encourages private investment in communities to get vacant and abandoned properties cleaned up and back on the tax rolls," said Grisanti, who serves as chairman of the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee. "I'm pleased the Assembly and Senate were able to come to an agreement on this legislation that makes it attractive for developers to continue to participate in this important economic and environmental revitalization program."

Brownfields are sites where the redevelopment or reuse of a property may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. The state Department of Environmental Conservation's brownfield cleanup program incentivizes the restoration and development of these properties. It makes cleanup projects undertaken by private parties eligible for tax credits and certification that remediation requirements have been, or will be achieved under a DEC-approved work plan.

Projects take an average of 2.8 years to obtain a certificate of completion, which is required to receive the tax credits.

The bill would extend this economic development and environmental restoration program to March 31, 2017. Currently, the brownfield cleanup program is set to expire Dec. 31, 2015. Grisanti said this sunset is preventing many developers from seeking to cleanup sites because of uncertainty over whether the program's incentives will be available upon a project's completion.

In addition, the bill increases bonding by $300 million for DEC's Superfund Program, which is charged with identifying, investigating and cleaning up the state's most contaminated sites.

The bill has passed the Assembly and will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for consideration.

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