On Earth Day in
April 2007, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced PlaNYC, New
York City’s environmental blueprint for management of
its infrastructure and growth in the first half of the 21st century.
In that plan, the Mayor identified the importance of cleanup and redevelopment
of properties that were abandoned or underutilized due to the presence or
perceived presence of contamination. Given the scarcity of available land and
the expected influx of nearly one million new residents by 2030, these
properties, commonly known as brownfields, must play an important role in the
city’s future redevelopment needs. Existing New York State environmental remediation programs,
like the Brownfield Cleanup Program, are intended to bring brownfield sites into
productive reuse and have proven effective in enabling cleanup of contaminated
properties. An important conclusion of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC was that the
city needed to act independently to accelerate its brownfield cleanup and
redevelopment goals and prepare the city for its infrastructure needs over the
next several decades.
To address this challenge, PlaNYC identified
eleven major brownfield initiatives to put New York City in an appropriate
position to achieve these goals. One of these initiatives, the creation of a new
Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) to oversee the city’s
brownfield programs has been accomplished. A second initiative is the creation
of a new voluntary brownfield cleanup program in New York City to be
administered by OER in cooperation with the New York City Department of Health.
That program, called the New York City Local Brownfield Cleanup Program, will be