05.26.16

SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE OVER $1.5 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR CLEAN-UP AT BROWNFIELD SITES AROUND UPSTATE NEW YORK

Schumer, Gillibrand Secure Funding for Five Brownfield Sites in WNY, Hudson Valley, Rome & North Country

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $1.5 million in federal funding for several regions in Upstate New York. The funding was allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program. Out of 240 recipients, Schumer and Gillibrand secured funding for six projects to help communities assess, clean up, redevelop and reuse contaminated and abandoned properties. Western New York will receive $500,000 for Niagara County, Hudson Valley will receive $600,000, which includes $400,000 for two projects in Kingston and $200,000 for Wappinger Falls, Rome will receive $200,000, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in the North Country will receive $200,000.

“Brownfields are more than just an eyesore for local residents, they devalue nearby properties, create an immense drag on the local economy, and can endanger our residents,” said Senator Schumer. “These federal funds are critical because they will not only help our Upstate municipalities clean up these brownfield properties for the short-term health of residents living near the sites, but also invest in the long-term redevelopment of our communities so we can spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.”

“These federal funds provided by the EPA will help communities around Upstate New York make critical infrastructure investments for economic development and environmental restoration,” said Senator Gillibrand a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee. “By investing in our brownfields, we are able to turn these sites into usable spaces, revitalizing neighborhoods, attracting new businesses, creating new jobs, and improving environmental conditions in the region.

Niagara County will use the federal funding to support a revolving loan fund to support efforts to clean contaminated sites with hazardous substances. The EPA funds will also sued to build upon Niagara County’s brownfield inventory, assessment, and remediation efforts and allow Niagara County to build on community support and outreach in cleanup efforts.

“Protecting our environment is a top priority for our county government,” said Niagara County Legislator Kathryn L. Lance, R-Wheatfield, who chairs the Legislature’s Economic Development Committee. “When it comes to a legacy of environmental contamination that we have inherited as a result of the activities of heavy industry, we must step up and lead on reclaiming our environment. We appreciate the assistance from partners like Sen. Gillibrand, who we know will always be a key supporter of our efforts to obtain federal funds for our brownfields remediation efforts. Putting these former industrial sites back into productive use is important to us, but even more importantly, ensuring the next generation inherits a cleaner environment than their parents and grandparents did is a vital mission of our county government. We're gratified that our representatives in Washington share that commitment."

Kingston in Ulster County will use the federal funding to perform up to 26 environmental site assessments primarily in two areas, Rondout and Waterfront and a central area of Midtown. The funds also will be used to conduct cleanup planning for 10 sites and support community outreach activities.

“I want to thank Senator Charles Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for once again delivering results for Ulster County and the City of Kingston,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.  “Ulster County has become a leader in environmental stewardship because our environment is a precious resource that we must all protect, and this federal funding will aid in efforts to do just that.”

The Village of Wappinger Falls will use the federal funding to conduct 15 environmental site assessments and support cleanup planning. The Village of Wappingers Falls will analyze properties with industrial or commercial histories including former metal plating facilities, dry cleaners, ink and dye manufacturing facilities, industrial storage, gasification facilities, and mechanical manufacturing operations.

“Without this critical federal assistance, the Village of Wappingers Falls would be left with the blight and devastation that accompanies environmentally challenged sites,” said Wappingers Falls Mayor Matt Alexander.  “This grant will be used to turn these properties into the job and wealth creating engines that they should be.  We look forward to partnering with the EPA in this effort and applaud the federal government's role in protecting the environmental well being of our village and all communities saddled with environmental contamination from past industrial use.”

Rome will be using the federal funding to clean up the former Rome-Turney Radiator Company site at 109 Canal Street. This site experienced a petroleum release from fuel storage tanks, contaminating the property’s soil and groundwater. There is an estimated 2,000 tons of contaminated soil at the site, which will need to be cleaned up to reuse the property.

Also, EPA funds are being awarded to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which will use the federal funding to conduct nine environmental site assessments at former gasoline station sites. Funds will also be used to update a brownfields inventory, support community involvement activities, and conduct cleanup planning.

Brownfields are properties where moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with productive re-use of the sites. Since its inception, EPA’s brownfields investments have leveraged more than $20 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have created approximately 87,000 jobs.

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