Earlier this year, we reported that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was expecting to issue a record number of Certificates of Completion (COCs) under the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) in 2014. Based on anticipated project completion dates provided by applicants, NYSDEC projected that it could issue as many as 92 BCP COCs by year end. However, by the start of the summer, the estimated number of COCs had dropped to 80. Now, it appears that the agency will issue around 40 COCs by year end-a 50% attrition rate.
This is the second consecutive year that there has been a dramatic falloff in projected BCP COCs. In 2013, only one third of the projects were able to obtain COCs. It is unclear if the original COC estimate was based unrealistic or overly aggressive expectations of applicants seeking to secure the tax credits because of the uncertainty over whether the BCP tax credits will be extended, or if the attrition is due to the documentation problems we discussed in a prior post. As we discussed, BCP applicants really do earn their tax credits because the BCP has robust procedures that require comprehensive investigations, high quality cleanups and significant public participation outreach.
The projects that were unable to obtain COCs in 2014 will now join the 90 or so projects that were already planning on receiving COCs in 2015. It looks like NYSDEC is going to be very busy in the coming year.