NYC-EJA was instrumental in the successful passage of the 2003 NYS Brownfields remediation legislation, which created Brownfield Opportunity Area, or BOA, grants for brownfield remediation planning efforts by communities across NYS. NYC-EJA also worked with the City Council on the creation of the first municipal brownfields remediation office in the nation, the Mayorâ€™s Office of Environmental Remediation.
There are numerous brownfields in New York City, with a majority located within the low-income communities of color that NYC-EJA serves. A brownfield is land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses, which may be – or perceived to be – contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution. The perceived or actual contamination complicates the reuse or redevelopment of a brownfield, raising possible liability concerns for developers and investors (land that is more severely contaminated and has high concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, such as a Superfund site, does not fall under the brownfield classification.) Often the only develop-able land remaining in low income communities, brownfields are clustered due to a history of industrial use, illegal dumping and/improper storage and handling of commercial products. Brownfields take many forms such as abandoned gas stations, vacant lots, empty manufacturing plants and auto shops. NYC-EJA and its members are involved in a range of brownfield remediation, development and advocacy efforts throughout our communities.