The Brownfield Cleanup Program has encouraged many private-sector cleanups of contaminated real property throughout upstate New York. By providing tax credits and other methods of funding, New York State has spurred the redevelopment and reuse of land that would otherwise be unused, abandoned and ultimately left to the State for cleanup, slowly, under its strained State Superfund initiative. Along the way, the Brownfield Cleanup Program has transformed communities and provided economic vitality, jobs and community pride to residents of New York State. Indeed, since the Brownfield Program began in 2003, over 400 sites have been remediated and redeveloped.
But now the very existence of the program that has meant so much to Upstate New York development has been called into question by Albany. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli last week complained that the Brownfield Cleanup Program is too expensive and proposed scaling it back. Comptroller DiNapoli’s comments last week in Albany during a meeting of New Partners for Community Renewal, echo the same sentiment he displayed in 2008, when his similar critique of the program led lawmakers to cap tax credits and delay payments under the program. A spokesperson for the Cuomo Administration said the Brownfield Cleanup Program remains under review.