Richards Calls For Action To Protect Poor Areas

Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), Chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, last week introduced a resolution calling on Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature to restore funding to the Brownfield Opportunity Areas program. Richards is leading the charge in New York City to urge Albany to protect one of the State’s most important environmental/community revitalization programs.

Brownfields are properties contaminated by toxic pollution – from old gas stations, illegal dumping, auto repair, old factories and other historic sources of poorly managed waste from New York’s industrial past. These sites are predominantly located in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. Environmental Justice communities in NYC had a strong hand in the creation of the BOA program, and since 2003, neighborhoods in all five boroughs have taken advantage of BOA resources to amplify their voice and the needs of the residents – working to accelerate cleanups and making sure that redevelopment reflects the needs and input of the local community.

“The BOA program is crucial because it helps attract private resources to weak market areas that will remove dangerous contaminants from our neighborhoods and spur development,” Richards said. “I respectfully call on our Albany leaders to keep up their end of the partnership with our most impacted communities and immediately restore and strengthen the Brownfield Opportunity Areas program. Community supported Brownfields reclamation is a sound investment towards public health, public safety and economic development. All New Yorkers – including poor NYC communities of color and upstate inner city areas that have been hard hit by the recession – deserve to live and work in a safe and healthy environment.”