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DEC announces improvements to brownfield cleanup program

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Sat, Jul 30th 2016 10:40 am

Regulation amendments take effect Aug. 12.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has adopted amendments to the brownfield cleanup program, Commissioner Basil Seggos announced. The amendments, which take effect Aug. 12, define the terms "affordable housing project" and "underutilized" as part of the eligibility requirements for tangible property tax credits for brownfields in New York City. The revised regulations also amend the existing definition of a "brownfield site" to comply with the changes enacted to the brownfield cleanup program law in 2015.

"The brownfield cleanup program is an important tool to advance the restoration of blighted areas in communities across the state, and these revisions will encourage redevelopment on many underutilized properties," Seggos said. "The amendments, which were driven by recommendations of municipalities and other experts, will ensure a more equitable distribution of these vital property tax credits by incentivizing strategic investments in communities across the state."

To implement key provisions of the 2015 reforms to the brownfield cleanup program, and ensure incentives are targeted to areas most in need, the regulation amendments provide clarification to the eligibility requirements of affordable housing projects and underutilized properties in New York City. In addition, the amended definition of "brownfield site" ensures the implementation of an environmental standards-based approach to brownfield site eligibility determinations required by law that will ensure tangible property tax credits are prioritized on areas with contamination.

"We commend the new regulations as very much in keeping with the spirit and intent of the 2015 BCP amendments. They will help assure state support for brownfield redevelopment projects that would not happen without assistance, projects that will help revitalize communities debilitated by historic contamination," said Val Washington, president of the board of New Partners for Community Revitalization.

These enhancements to the brownfields cleanup program are the result of several rounds of public comments and hearings, most recently ending on April 8. The final rule making documents, including the assessment of public comment, are available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/101908.html.

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