EPA recently recognized the NYC brownfield cleanup program-the first time a municipal cleanup program has received such status. The recognition under section 104(k) of CERCLA means that the City’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) is an “eligible entity” which may apply for and use federal brownfield investigation and cleanup grants and loans.
It is important to note that this recognition does not constitute designation as a “state response program” under CERCLA section 128 whereby EPA would exercise its enforcement discretion and not pursue parties who have remediated sites under a state cleanup program. However, since the NYC program only addresses moderately contaminated sites, it is unlikely that the sites administered by OER would appear on the federal radar screen.
The recognition also does not constitute a 104(d) cooperation agreement. Some cases a few years ago suggested that cleanups done pursuant to a cooperation agreement would allow a remediator to bring a contribution action.
More information about the NYC brownfield program is available from our brownfields page. Direct links to the OER website are also available from our “Helpful Links” tab on the Resources drop-down menu.