On April 22, 2009 the City Council unanimously approved Local Law 27 of 2009 (in PDF) to develop a comprehensive program for the remediation and reuse of brownfields. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signed the bill into law on May 11, 2009. The passage of this law, the "New York City Brownfield and Community Revitalization Act (or simply, the NYC Brownfield Law)," was an enormous milestone enabling the City to lead the cleanup of brownfields for productive reuse in accordance with PlaNYC.
Brownfields are important to NYC because they represent a significant opportunity to create housing, jobs, and open space to serve our growing population.
PlaNYC contained eleven initiatives related to brownfields, and the passage of this legislation either completes or enables the achievement of all of them.
The NYC Brownfield Law:
- established the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) as a permanent facet of city government to oversee and coordinate City brownfield policy;
- authorized creation of the NYC Voluntary Cleanup Program that is the first in the nation to provide for municipal oversight of brownfield cleanups;
- ensured that the NYC Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) will use New York State standards for cleanup of brownfields;
- authorized investment of City tax-levy funds for small grants to stimulate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment;
- provided priority for projects in environmental justice communities in the grant program and for technical assistance;
- enabled the Office of Environmental Remediation to facilitate community planning for areas affected by clusters of brownfields through the NYS Department of State's Brownfield Opportunity Area grant program;
- authorized the NYC Green Property Certification Program to designate properties with completed cleanups and demonstrate that these sites are among the safest places in NYC to live and work;
- authorized the City to enter into agreements with the State and Federal governments to provide liability protection for program participants, and paved the way for the landmark agreement with State Department of Environmental Conservation on liability protection for developers that use the NYC VCP;
- provided for a full City liability release for cleanups in the NYC VCP;
- created a one-stop shop for cleanup by allowing consolidation of all city agency cleanup activities in OER, enabling land owners and developers to achieve cleanup that is both thorough and timely; and
- enabled OER to pursue state and federal grants to support NYC brownfield projects.