Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that an agreement between the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Eastman Kodak Company to remediate the Genesee River and continue environmental work at Eastman Business Park (EBP) has been endorsed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agreement ensures a cleaner community around the EBP, and will result in new opportunities for further economic development and growth at the site.
This agreement ensures that we can continue to transform Eastman Business Park into a new regional hub for new businesses and jobs while cleaning up the Genesee River at the same time, Governor Cuomo said. I commend the EPA for partnering with the State to make this solution happen.
Lieutenant Governor Robert J. Duffy said, "Eastman Business Park represents the past, present, and future of Rochester's economy. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the Eastman Business Park continues to evolve toward a new future, with many businesses choosing to locate and invest here. Today's development once again shows the Governor's commitment to Rochester, and the positive steps being taken to improve the region's economy."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, With funding from DECs settlement with Kodak, DEC intends to cleanup past environmental contamination, helping to ensure Eastman Business Park can become home to additional New York State businesses and aquatic life can thrive in the Genesee River.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, Eastman Business Park is a critical center of employment for the City of Rochester and New York State. The agreement between the DEC, Kodak and EPA will help protect the current and future businesses of EBP and allow for future private investment and job growth while protecting the environment.
Today, EPA endorsed the August 2013 settlement between DEC and Kodak. That settlement was previously approved as part of Kodaks bankruptcy reorganization and requires Kodak to contribute $49 million to establish a trust for environmental cleanup of the Genesee River and maintenance activities at EBP. In addition, New York State has agreed to provide $50 million for further environmental protection should it be necessary. Kodak and the State will provide additional funds to address any future environmental cleanup if overall costs exceed $99 million.
The agreement provides assurance to prospective redevelopers and property owners at EBP that they will not be liable for cleanup activities based upon historic spills and discharges during EBPs industrial past. This arrangement supports efforts to market EBP for redevelopment. By quantifying its liabilities for past events, these agreements should also help Kodak to be successful post-bankruptcy.
In addition, under the agreement DEC will manage cleanup activities of the Genesee River and Eastman Business Park under an expedited schedule. After a thorough investigation, DEC will develop a remediation plan for the Genesee River to address environmental issues and will continue its ongoing environmental maintenance at EBP. EPA will provide input at critical points while DEC will select the final remedy. Further, DEC and Kodak will perform enhanced public outreach about cleanup activities.
Senator Charles E. Schumer said, I congratulate the EPA, DEC and Kodak for getting to yes for the people of Rochester. This common sense agreement will provide the resources necessary to clean up the Eastman Business Park and pave the way to attract new companies, retain current ones and grow jobs for the whole region.
Representative Louise Slaughter said, Our regions economic future depends on the success of Eastman Business Park, which is home to thousands of brilliant minds working for dozens of the most innovative companies in the country. The Washington office of the EPA, New York State DEC, Kodak, and my office worked constructively over the course of many months to find an agreement that protects the environment and ensures the future of Eastman Business Park. By working together we have struck the right balance that provides the resources to fund the continuing clean-up of the Park and Genesee River while retaining jobs and positioning the Park as the premier economic development asset in our region.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the bankruptcy court must also approve the agreement. After the DOJ signs off on the agreement, EPA will provide a 30-day public comment period. All approvals could come as early as May.
Eastman Business Park (EBP), formerly Kodak Park, is a massive 1,200-acre technology and industrial complex that spans from the City of Rochester into the Town of Greece in Monroe County. EBP has more than one million square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and warehouse space with infrastructure systems that put it among the top industrial sites in the eastern United States. Under Governor Cuomo, more than $90 million has been committed and invested by New York State to attract dozens of new companies that are transforming EBP into a diverse hub for research and development (R&D) and high tech manufacturing. The park now has 50 companies with more than 6,500 employees, most of which are non-Kodak jobs.