Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $569,994 in federal funding for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) Brownfields State Response Program. The funding was allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide technical assistance to communities working to clean-up and rebuild on sites that are currently unusable due to contamination. Specifically, the NYSDEC will use the funding to perform an inventory of brownfields sites, conduct targeted brownfields site assessments, and enhance the public record system.
“These federal funds help our Upstate municipalities clean up brownfield properties, which has the double benefit of eliminating pollution and putting these parcels of land back into use for economic development. This is a wise investment in the redevelopment of our communities that will help spur job creation and economic growth for years to come,” said Senator Schumer.
“This is an important investment for New York State,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “This federal funding will allow the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to invest additional resources to clean-up and redevelop brownfields sites. By rebuilding these areas, we are returning these sites to productive use that will help revitalize neighborhoods, attract new businesses, create new jobs, and improve environmental conditions in the state.”
In June, Senator Schumer announced $700,000 in federal funding for brownfield sites in Upstate NY. Schumer secured funding for three projects to help communities in Upstate NY to survey, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated and abandoned properties. Niagara County, Sullivan County, and Valley Falls in Rensselaer County received $300,000, $200,000, and $200,000, respectively, to tackle the problems posed by brownfield sites, which pose safety risks and suffocate local economies.
In April, Senator Gillibrand, with 24 Senate colleagues, urged federal appropriators to include $154 million in federal funding for the EPA’s Brownfields Program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget. Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand announced that a bipartisan bill that she is championing, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act, passed out of committee and is now headed to the full Senate for a vote. This legislation would reauthorize federal brownfield programs that help bring new investment and jobs to communities.
Brownfields sites range in size from a half an acre to tens of acres and are located in both urban and rural areas. The redevelopment of these sites have proven to be beneficial to communities as they provide a boost to the economy through private investment and business development, job creation, community development, and overall quality of life in the area. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.