NYC Brownfield Grant Program Funding Hits Limit

The NYC Brownfield Program has been a popular tool for moderately contaminated sites because of the streamlined approach that allows sites to complete remediation fairly quickly. Properties that are remediated through the NYC BCP receive a Notice of Completion, which includes New York City liability release, a statement from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has no further interest and does not plan to take enforcement or require remedial action for the property. Applicants also receive  a NYC Green Property Certification that symbolizes the city’s confidence that the property is protective of public health and the environment.

Statistics released by the New York City Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) illustrate the environmental and economic benefits of the NYC BCP. 110 sites have been enrolled for sites that on average have been vacant for 18 years. OER estimates the program has generated $2.6B in economic benefits, with an average of $5MM in new sales and income taxes per site. 50% of the sites that have been remediated achieved Track 1 unrestricted cleanups.

Sites enrolled in the NYC BCP are eligible for the Brownfield Incentive Grants (BIG) Program which funds for types of grants. The grants include pre-enrollment investigation costs, remediation, technical assistance to non-profit developers of Preferred Community Development Projects and purchase of pollution liability insurance or cleanup cost cap insurance.. BIG grants may also be used to satisfy the Hazardous Materials E-Designation and Restrictive Declaration Remediation programs.

The BIG program is temporarily over-subscribed. The first 85 sites in the NYC BCP have been earmarked or guaranteed BIG funding. It is possible that another ten sites may receive funding since some of the enrolled projects may not proceed to completion. OER hopes BIG will receive additional funding from the City Council when the City Budget is announced early in 2013.