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DEC aims to streamline brownfield cleanups

Officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed two new policies that they say would streamline the cleanup of brownfield sites.

The proposals would allow certain properties to pre-qualify for the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, and would shorten the time frame between application approval and obtaining a cleanup agreement with the state.

“New York’s brownfield programs are important economic engines for communities large and small throughout the state,” DEC Commissioner Alexander Grannis said in a statement on Thursday.

“Because of that, the DEC continues to look for ways to make the programs more successful. The changes proposed today will help provide earlier predictability to private developers and further assist communities in marketing sites.”

The Brownfield Cleanup Program offers tax credits and limited liability releases to private parties who redevelop contaminated sites.

Uncertainty over whether potential brownfield sites qualify for state incentives has hampered the ability of communities to market such sites to developers, DEC officials said. The pre-qualifier will speed up the application process and give predictability to interested private developers.

Procedures aim to shorten the time to get a cleanup agreement to some 45 days from what is now as long as several months, officials said.

“From our first conversations with Commissioner Grannis, it was clear he understood that the timely redevelopment of brownfields is a linchpin to the revitalization of the upstate urban landscape,” said Craig Turner, senior policy director for the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and spokesman for the Upstate Unshackle coalition of businesses.

“We are pleased to stand with Commissioner Grannis today and into the future as he continues his important work to strengthen the state’s brownfield program.”

The draft policies are available at www.dec.ny.gov.

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.
 

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