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Progress on Brownfields

Revitalizing the regional economy is going to require, in part, remediating and redeveloping brownfields. We have a lot of them. No fewer than 182 in Erie and Niagara counties. Here's a list.

Gov. Paterson and the state Legislature took an important step in the recently concluded session to help places like Buffalo and Niagara Falls. They reformed the flawed brownfield redevelopment law, which has mostly been used by developers in Manhatten to gain billions in tax credits for putting up offices and luxury housing on contaminated sites while doing little to clean them up.

The revised law cuts down on those abuses, while increasing the tax credits granted to  help cover the cost of remediating sites. It also streamlines the process used to determine who gets state grants to clean up brownfields.

While not perfect, the changes go a long way towards helping places like Buffalo and Niagara Falls, which are dealing with not only a lot of brownfields, but ones often located in and around low-income neighborhoods.

"All the environmental groups felt this was a big step forward," said Joseph Gardella, a professor of chemistry at the University at Buffalo and active in the brownfield reform movement.

For more details, read the bill and this analysis by the law firm of Nixon Peabody.

   

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Brownfields | Economic Development
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