Share this article

print logo

Environmental groups want brownfields program reformed, extended

Environmental groups in New York state are calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers to reform a brownfield cleanup program, which is set to expire next year.

Four environmental groups issued a joint appeal to change and extend the program, in order to ensure toxic sites are cleaned up. The groups are urging action before the state Legislature adjourns its 2014 session, which could happen next week.

Environmental Advocates of New York called the brownfields program “costly and off-target,” and said there are thousands of sites that need attention. “Common sense reforms can and should become law this year,” said Peter Iwanowicz, the organization’s executive director, in a statement.

Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, warned that “very few new projects” will enter the brownfield program due to a lack of clarity and funding.

The other groups calling for reforms are New Partners for Community Revitalization and the New York Public Interest Research Group.

Business advocates also want the program extended, cautioning that redevelopment projects on former industrial sites could halt if the program’s lucrative tax credits are allowed to expire.