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Gillibrand Pushes Legislation To Improve Contaminated Site Cleanup

Brownfields Are Ripe For Development Once Cleaned, Officials Say
New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Union Square - May 3, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in Union Square – May 3, 2013 (credit: Monica Miller / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A push has been launched for the federal government to provide additional help in cleaning up contaminated sites.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Brooklyn/Staten Island) admitted the process of cleaning up contaminated sites called brownfields can get murky.

Brownfields are vacant or underused properties where redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination.

“Between city, state and federal legislation, nobody really knows how to resolve these issues and how to reform these properties,” Savino said.

That is where U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said her federal legislation can help. She is pushing a measure to increase funding, streamline the process, and allow non-profits grants to identify properties.

“Through assessing and cleaning up contaminated or abandoned sites, communities are able to redevelop them into the usable, livable and workable areas that can drive economic growth,” she said.

Elected officials point to a neighborhood in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island as a prime example, hoping that open access to the waterfront will spur restaurants, businesses and open space.

The State of New York offers incentives to builders hoping to redevelop mildly polluted vacant lots under a brownfield program. The city also offers a local version of the program.

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