A.G. Schneiderman And Dec Announce Administrator For $19.5m Environmental Benefits Program In Greenpoint
North Brooklyn Development Corporation Teams With National Fish And Wildlife Foundation To Manage Program That Will Fund Community Environmental Priorities
Schneiderman: Funding Will Help Reverse Legacy Of Environmental Abuse And Neglect In Community
NEW YORK ‑ Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens today announced that the Greenpoint-based North Brooklyn Development Corporation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will jointly administer the Greenpoint Environmental Benefit Projects (EBPs) Program. The Program, with a $19.5 million fund, was established with money paid by ExxonMobil in a 2011 settlement with New York State related to its massive oil spill in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
"Directing $19.5 million toward Greenpoint’s priorities means this program will help reverse the legacy of environmental abuse and neglect in this vibrant neighborhood," saidAttorney General Schneiderman. “This partnership will ensure close and continuing collaboration with the community and help achieve a cleaner, healthier future for Greenpoint."
“As the administrator of this substantial Environmental Benefit Project fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and North Brooklyn Development Corporation will work with the Greenpoint Community to choose and implement the most valuable projects for the community,” said DEC Commissioner Martens. “DEC continues to work on the remediation directing ExxonMobil, Chevron and BP to maintain, evaluate and optimize the efficiency of the remediation systems and engaging and assisting interested developers of parcels within the impacted areas.”
The Greenpoint EBPs Program was created with money obtained in a 2011 settlement with ExxonMobil for a decades-old oil spill. The settlement requires ExxonMobil to fully clean up the spill and pay $19.5 million to fund environmental projects in the community.
The Program's General Administrator ‑ the joint partnership - was selected by the State through a process developed jointly with the Greenpoint Community Advisory Panel (CAP), made up of representatives of local environmental and civic organizations. CAP has been actively involved in developing and implementing the Program since its inception in 2011.
The General Administrator will manage the solicitation, evaluation and development of project proposals and oversee the implementation of projects that are funded, in collaboration with CAP. The administrator will also ensure continued engagement and collaboration with the Greenpoint community in each phase of the Program.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., was established in 1984 by the U.S. Congress as a private non-profit corporation dedicated to supporting the conservation and management of the nation's natural resources. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded over 11,000 grants to 3,700 organizations, leveraging over $635 million in public funding into nearly $2 billion in environmental benefits. The Foundation currently manages approximately $475 million in total funding and administers over 50 EBPs nationwide, including the Attorney General's $7 million Bronx River Watershed Initiative.
The North Brooklyn Development Corporation was founded as a community not-for-profit in 1979 by local community and business leaders with the intention of improving commerce, housing, education and quality of life in North Brooklyn. The Corporation has a track record of successful community programs, including administering the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development Out of School-Time Program and Youth Summer Camp at PS 110 in Greenpoint. The Corporation developed and manages six affordable housing projects in Greenpoint and Williamsburg and continues to play a central role in creating a community-based vision for the Greenpoint waterfront. Consistent with the organization's grassroots orientation, the Corporation's primary role in the partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will be in leading the Program's engagement and collaboration with the local community.
Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol said, "I am glad that the joint venture between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation has been selected to administer the Greenpoint EBPs Program. They will truly bring a two-pronged approach through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s experience with environmental issues and the North Brooklyn Development Corporations understanding of the local landscape. Both organizations bring knowledgeable and fiscally sound experience that will be necessary to ensure a fully transparent and community-based endeavor. I look forward to the exciting environmental projects that will be developing in our community as a result of this program."
New York City Councilmember Stephen Levinsaid, “Both the North Brooklyn Development Corporation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are excellent organizations with long track records of project management and community outreach. I am certain that their partnership will make for great administration of the Greenpoint EBP Program. I am very pleased that this process is continuing to move forward and that Greenpointers are one step closer to deciding how the Exxon oil spill money will be spent.”
Christine Holowacz, a Greenpoint resident and member of CAP, said, "The State has acted as a true partner with the community on the Greenpoint EBP Program. Rather than being told who the Program's administrator would be, we collaborated on a process that ensured the community's criteria were integral to their selection. I am very pleased with the selection of National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and North Brooklyn Development Corporation, and their unique combination of national and local capacity, experience and skills. It has been a pleasure to work with the offices of Attorney General Schneiderman and DEC Commissioner Martens."
Dewey Thompson, co-chair of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning (GWAPP) and a member of CAP, said, "I'm happy that the CAP and the offices of Attorney General Schneiderman and DEC Commissioner Martens took the necessary time and effort to co-operatively develop a process for selecting a General Administrator for the Greenpoint EBP. As a result of the process, I feel confident that we chose a partner whose experience, resources, and local presence will help ensure the community gets the most from the EBP funds.”
Leah Archibald, Executive Director of the East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation and a member of CAP, said, "I am delighted we will be moving into a new phase of the Greenpoint EBPs Program, now that the partnership of North Brooklyn Development Corporation and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has selected as administrator. As the community continues its collaboration with the Program administrator and the State, I am certain that we will see a wide variety of quality projects that improve our environment, and make Greenpoint a better place to live and work. I would like to thank the Attorney General and DEC for following through on their commitment to partnering with the community on this Program."
The Greenpoint EBP Program will hold an Open House for the Greenpoint community on February 11, between 5 and 8 pm, at the Polish & Slavic Center, 176 Java Street, Brooklyn. The event will provide an opportunity for community members to meet the newly-selected partnership leaders, and continue to provide input on the type of environmental improvement projects they would like to see funded in Greenpoint. A preliminary list of community project ideas can be found on the Program's website at: www.ag.ny.gov/environmental/greenpoint-environmental-benefit-projects.
The Greenpoint CAP members are: Leah Archibald (East Williamsburg Valley Industrial Development Corporation); Kurt Cavanaugh (Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn); Katie Denny (Open Space Alliance Community Committee); Michael Heimbinder (Newtown Creek Alliance); Laura Hoffman (Barge Park Pals); Christine Holowacz (Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee); Ryan Kuonen (Brooklyn Community Board 1); Phillip Musegaas (Riverkeeper); Stephanie Thayer (Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn); Dewey Thompson (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning); Laura Treciokas (Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning); Kate Zidar (Newtown Creek Alliance); and Manuel Zuniga (47 Java Garden Collective). In addition, representatives of New York State Assembly member Joseph R. Lentol, New York State Senator Martin M. Dilan and New York City Councilmember Stephen Levin serve as non-voting members of CAP.
The Greenpoint EBP Program is being handled for Attorney General Schneiderman by Environmental Policy Advisor Peter C. Washburn and for Commissioner Martens by Michelle Moore, DEC Region 2. The State is being assisted in working with the CAP and conducting outreach to the Greenpoint community by Enviro-Sciences Engineering/ARC Engineering & Construction, P.C.