Bill would help clean up sites

U.S. Rep. Chris Gibson and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty introduced legislation earlier this month that could help improve a brownfield site in Canajoharie, according to a news release.

The bill, the Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2016, would reauthorize and improve the Environmental Protective Agency’s Brownfields program.

“Having spent time recently at the moldering Beech-Nut plant in Canajoharie, a possible candidate for brownfield designation, I am proud to help launch this effort in the House,” Gibson said in the release.

In the release, Gibson and Esty said they hope to give struggling communities the tools they need to remediate these properties.

“An enrichment of these funds is certainly a positive for the redevelopment of old industrial sites. This financial support would make a significant impact for counties like Montgomery, which have former manufacturing sites to be redeveloped, such as the site in Canajoharie, at Exit 29 of the New York State Thruway,” Montgomery County Executive Matthew Ossenfort said in the release.

Ossenfort said the Fiber Glass Industries building in Amsterdam is another industrial site in need of revitalization.

“To make progress, the only way to truly do this is to have serious financial help from the state and federal government,” Ossenfort said.

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said there are a few sites in Gloversville and Johnstown that would be candidates for this program as well.

“We are looking to market these sites and reach out to see if we can get help with that funding,” King said.

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead also said former leather industry sites in Johnstown and Gloversville could be good brownfield candidates.

According to the release, the Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2016 would reauthorize the program’s grant authority at $250 million annually through 2021 and add significant improvements.

“One of the best ways to revitalize our communities is to convert our brownfields into livable, workable spaces that will boost our economy,” Esty said in the release.

Fulton County Chairman Charlie Potter said the former Glenco Leather building behind Price Chopper in Gloversville, which has been overgrown with vegetation for more than 10 years, as a possible brownfield candidate.

Potter said municipalities often don’t want the liability inherent in taking possession of the sites when they need to be remediated. He is unsure of what exactly is in the old Glenco Leather building.

“It’s the potential [to be] something hazardous,” Potter said. “I’m glad they are revisiting [the brownfields program] because there are particular sites in Fulton County that could use those funds.”

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