From Capital New York:
The state's brownfield cleanup program has cost taxpayers $1.14 billion, but has restored just 131 contaminated sites, according to a new study from an environmental advocacy group.
Since its creation a decade ago, the Brownfield Cleanup Program has largely spent money on sites in wealthier areas, rather than poor and minority communities that could benefit the most from the program, according to a study released Thursday by Environmental Advocates of New York. There are an additional 321 sites enrolled in the program, and $3 billion in liabilities pending.
The group alleges that the program functions more as a giveaway to developers, rather than targeting the thousands of brownfield sites across New York.
“This program is costly and it's also off target,” said Andrew Postiglione, the fiscal policy analyst for Environmental Advocates, in a phone call with reporters on Thursday. “Many investments are going to projects that would have existed without the program in the first place.”
The group said the program benefits developers, who are heavy political donors, because it bases credit on the value of the property that's constructed after the cleanup.
The money has largely gone to projects in New York City, rather than upstate communities with polluted sites. In 2012, a single Manhattan redevelopment project received about half of the funds paid out under the program.