Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pollution to Profit

Once Polluted, Now Profitable for New Jersey Builders
Alex Tarquinio, NY Times, March 5, 2008

A decade or two ago, New Jersey’s brownfields would not have appealed to many developers, no matter how many carrots the state dangled in front of them. But in the past decade, the state has protected large swaths of relatively pristine land through statewide conservation initiatives, while also providing incentive programs for redeveloping brownfields.

“We want to encourage much more development in our urban centers, where we already have the infrastructure and transportation,” said Kenneth J. Kloo, the administrator of the brownfield program of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The state defines brownfields as former commercial or industrial sites where the authorities know or suspect that the soil or the groundwater has been contaminated.

The Brownfield Reimbursement Program, which the state created in 1998, allows developers to recoup 75 percent of the costs they incur for the environmental cleanup of brownfields.

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