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Brownfield Cleanup Program may be getting an overhaul this year

Broome County

Among the issues up for discussion in budget talks this year is an overhaul of New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. It offers tax breaks for the development of contaminated industrial sites.

In last year’s budget proposal, Governor Cuomo sought reforms to the brownfields program. That attempt died in the legislature. Cuomo is seeking a similar overhauthis year, with a goal of focus to areas where help is most needed.

study released Thursday by Environmental Advocates of New York found that the vast majority of the money spent on each project goes toward redevelopment instead of cleanup. Peter Iwanowicz is the group’s executive director. 

“And we’ve seen over the life of the program that far too many sites that aren’t heavily contaminated and far too many sites that are in desirable areas of the state are where the tax credits are going,” says Iwanowicz.
According to a 2013 report by a Cuomo-created tax reform commission, the largest brownfield project to date is a Ritz Carlton Hotel in White Plains. So far, the state has given it $114 million in tax credits. The second-largest is a power plant in Upstate New York. 

According to Environmental Advocates, out of 170 projects, only 3 were completed in Broome County since 2008, along with one each in Tompkins and Schuyler counties.  

Matt Richmond comes to Binghamton's WSKG, a WRVO partner station in the Innovation Trail consortium, from South Sudan, where he worked as a stringer for Bloomberg, and freelanced for Radio France International, Voice of America, and German Press Agency dpa. He has worked with KQED in Los Angeles, Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Matt's masters in journalism is from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.
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