Environmental Conservation Law Section 27-1417
1.Citizen participation handbook. The commissioner shall prepare a citizen participation handbook for the purpose of providing guidance to applicants in the design and implementation of meaningful citizen participation plans consistent with the requirements of this section for the remediation of brownfield sites as provided in this title. Such handbook shall encourage citizen involvement by outlining opportunities and recommended methods for effective citizen participation. The commissioner shall make such handbook available to all applicants and other interested members of the public upon request and shall make it available on the department’s website.
2.Citizen participation plans.
(a)The design of any citizen participation plan, including the level of citizen involvement and the tools utilized, shall take into account the scope and scale of the proposed remedial program, local interest and history, and other relevant factors. While retaining flexibility, citizen participation plans shall embody the following principles of meaningful citizen participation:
(1)opportunities for citizen involvement should be provided as early as possible in the decision making process prior to the selection of a preferred course of action by the department and/or the applicant.
(2)activities proposed in such plan should be as reflective of the diversity of interests and perspective found within the community as possible, allowing the public the opportunity to have their views heard and considered, which may include opportunities for two-way dialogue.
(3)full, timely, and accessible disclosure and sharing of information by the department shall be provided, including the provision of technical data and the assumptions upon which the analyses are based.
(b)All citizen participation plans shall include the following minimum elements:
(1)identification of the interested public and preparation of a brownfield site contact list;
(2)identification of major issues of public concern related to the brownfield site;
(3)a description and schedule of public participation activities required pursuant to this section; and
(4)a description and schedule of any additional public participation activities needed to address public concerns.
3.Citizen participation requirements.
(a)In addition to the formal milestones listed below, the public may provide comments at any time during the remedial program.
(b)The person submitting a request for participation, in cooperation with the department, shall provide a newspaper notice of the person’s request to participate in the program. The person, in cooperation with the department, shall also provide notice thereof to the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall provide for a thirty day public comment period following publication.
(c)Before the department finalizes the remedial investigation workplan, the applicant, in cooperation with the department, must notify individuals on the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing such plan and provide for a thirty day public comment period.
(d)Before the department approves a proposed remedial investigation report, the department, in consultation with the applicant, shall notify individuals on the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing such report.
(e)Upon the department’s determination of significant threat pursuant to § 27-1411 (Work plan requirements)section 27-1411 of this title, the department must provide notice to individuals on the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing the basis of the department’s determination.
(f)Before the department finalizes a proposed remedial work plan or makes a determination that site conditions meet the requirements of this title without the necessity for remediation pursuant to § 27-1411 (Work plan requirements)section 27-1411 of this title, the department, in consultation with the applicant, must notify individuals on the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing such plan and provide for a forty-five day public comment period. The commissioner shall hold a public meeting if requested by the affected community and the commissioner has found that the site constitutes a significant threat to the public health or the environment. Further, the affected community may request a public meeting at sites that do not constitute a significant threat.
(1)To the extent that the department has determined that site conditions do not pose a significant threat and the site is being addressed by a volunteer, the notice shall state that the department has determined that no remediation is required for the off-site areas and that the department’s determination of a significant threat is subject to this forty-five day comment period.
(2)If the remedial work plan includes a Track 2, Track 3 or Track 4 remedy at a non-significant threat site, such comment period shall apply both to the approval of the alternatives analysis by the department and the proposed remedy selected by the applicant.
(g)Before the applicant commences construction at the brownfield site, the applicant, in cooperation with the department, shall provide notice to the individuals on the brownfield site contact list.
(h)Before the department approves a proposed final engineering report, the department, in consultation with the applicant, must notify individuals on such contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing the brownfield site report, including any proposed institutional or engineering controls.
(i)Within ten days of the issuance of a certificate of completion at a site which will utilize institutional or engineering controls, the applicant, in cooperation with the department, shall provide notice to the brownfield site contact list. Such notice shall include a fact sheet describing such controls.
4.Technical assistance grants.
(a)Within the limits of appropriations made available pursuant to paragraph j of subdivision three of State Finance Law § 97-B (Hazardous waste remedial fund)section ninety-seven-b of the state finance law, the commissioner is authorized to provide grants to any not-for-profit corporation exempt from taxation under section 501(c)(3) of the internal revenue code at any site determined to pose a significant threat by the department and which may be affected by a brownfield site remedial program. To qualify to receive such assistance, a community group must demonstrate that its membership represents the interests of the community affected by such site. Furthermore, the commissioner is authorized to direct any applicant who is a responsible party, as defined in § 27-1313 (Remedial programs)section 27-1313 of this article, to provide such grants. Such grants shall be known as technical assistance grants and may be used to obtain technical assistance in interpreting information with regard to the nature of the hazard posed by contamination located or emanating from a brownfield site or sites and the development and implementation of a brownfield site remedial program or programs. Such grants may also be used to hire health and safety experts to advise affected residents on any health assessments and for the education of interested affected community members to enable them to more effectively participate in the remedy selection process. Grants awarded under this section may not be used for the purposes of collecting field sampling data, political activity or lobbying legislative bodies.
(b)The amount of any grant awarded under this section may not exceed fifty thousand dollars at any one site.
(c)No matching contribution from the grant recipient shall be required for a technical assistance grant. Following a grant award, a portion of the grant shall be made available to the grant recipient, in advance of the expenditures to be covered by the grant, in five thousand dollar installments.
Section 27-1417 — Citizen participation,
https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/ENV/27-1417 (updated Sep. 22, 2014; accessed Dec. 9, 2023).