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  • 17 Feb 2022 3:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thanks to our colleague from the NYCBP, attorney David Freeman,  and BCONE Board Member Emeritus, Larry Schnapf, for sharing their recent article on the future of the NYS Brownfield Cleanup Program:https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/new-yorks-brownfield-cleanup-program-17?context=search&index=2 

    BCONE President Rick Shoyer and BCONE’s Executive Director, Sue Boyle are working with both gentlemen and a coalition of organizations including the NYS League of Conservation Voters and REBNY on BCP improvements for legislative consideration.

    Posted February 17, 2022

  • 27 Jan 2022 11:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 19, 2022, the Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE), the NJ Licensed Site Remediation Professionals Association (NJ LSRPA), the NJ Chapter of the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (NJ SWEP), and the New York City Brownfield Partnership (NYCBP) collaborated on one of the largest webinars that any of those organizations has hosted in several years.  What was the topic that drew the attention of 200+ participants?  Changes to the ASTM Due Diligence standard from the experts who participated in  the design of the revised standard that resulted from over  75 meetings. 

    Moderated by Kathi Stetser and Michelle Martin, both LSRPs from GEI Consulting, with content provided and presented by Chemmie Sokolic, Falcon Real Estate Group; Chris Martell, ESA Environmental Consultants, and Larry Schnapf, Esq. of Schnapf LLC, attendees heard about the ASTM standards update process; new and revised definitions; records review and “The Big 4” property records; emerging contaminants and how they are handled under the updated standard; shelf life of thestandards and of the documents prepared; and important new appendices.

    If you missed the webinar, here is our gift to you:  these are “The Big 4” property records: i) aerial photographs, ii) fire insurance maps, iii) local street directories, and iv) historical topographic maps. 

    The session was recorded;  the Boards of Directors of the four organizations are discussing the release process.  If interested, contact sboyle@geiconsultants.com for further information. 

    Posted January 27, 2022

  • 03 Jan 2022 2:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BCONE joined with  eleven other environmental, business, and social justice organizations from throughout NYS to inform Gov. Hochul of the importance pf a long-term reauthorization of the Brownfields Cleanup Program.  You can find the letter here.  BCONE’s frequent organization partner, the New York City Brownfield Partnership, is credited with October 2021 report that quantifies the number of cleanups under the program and the on-site rate of return ratio of $6.63 in private development for every $1 of tax credits. For the entirety of the BCP, $17.61 billion in private investment has resulted from  $2.77billion in tax credits.

    Posted January 3, 2022

  • 22 Nov 2021 3:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On November 18th, we had a joint event with the New York City Brownfield Partnership on the impacts of COVID. This was Part 4 of an ongoing series we have been holding. 

    Based on this event, we have some suggested reading material for all those who are interested:

    Posted November 22, 2021
  • 18 Nov 2021 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Held on Nov 9, 2021, and attended by over 40 enthusiastic members, the BCONE Board of Directors provided a year in review of BCONE activities, the current and proposed budget revenue sources and expenditures and an introduction to the new committee structure.  Click here for a complete copy of the meeting’s PowerPoint presentation. 

    The attendees were extremely helpful in providing answers to 9 poll questions found here, assisting the Board in its decisions on what type of events to hold in 2022, whether they should be virtual or in person and other input.

    If you did NOT attend the Annual meeting, but want to make your voice heard, send us an email at brownfieldcoalitionne@gmail.com, and let us know your answer to the poll questions, your recommendations for 2022 events and activities, and let us know which committee you want to join so you can help direct the future of YOUR BCONE.

    Here are some suggestions we heard from attendees; let us know what you think and feel free to add to the list:

    1. Top Golf for a networking event.
    2. Put up more Success Stories (and feature them in events/courses). Would love to!  Send us the stories.
    3. Food pairings with wine or with beer as a networking event. How about a beer and bacon pairing?
    4. Select a charity to feature for awareness at every event.
    5. Work with existing mentoring groups in our BCONE region  and offer Internships.             
    6. Create a revenue goal for 2022, and have a giant thermometer on website or at Board Meetings to show how BCONE is doing meeting the goal.
    7. Social media training for BCONE members.
  • 15 Nov 2021 2:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The BCONE Pennsylvania Expansion Committee held a “Tour and Pour” event on November 10, 2021, in downtown Reading. The walking tour was hosted by the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance and Alvernia University. During the tour, several redevelopment sites were visited including the Wells Fargo Building on Penn Street.

    Developer Alan Shuman, owner of the Shuman Development Group, led a tour through the building and discussed different aspects of the project including environmental issues that were addressed. The group also visited Alvernia University’s new Reading CollegeTowne facility, a dynamic extension of main campus which showcases Alvernia’s student-centric approach to learning.

    The five-story complex brings hundreds of students, faculty and staff to downtown Reading every day, nurturing economic development in the City and bringing a thriving new energy to the Penn Street corridor. Dr. Rodney Ridley discussed the history of CollegeTowne and the O’Pake Institute as well as the challenges currently facing higher education. Alvernia students lead BCONE members on a tour of the facility.

    The event concluded with an evening networking session at the Saucony Creek Franklin Station Brew Pub, which is a repurposed railroad station dating to the 1930’s. 


    Look for more “Tour and Pour” events from the PA Expansion Committee in 2022.

    Posted November 15, 2021

  • 11 Nov 2021 11:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    How does one put a positive spin on a pandemic? Maria Coler found two bona fide ways to do it: forming a virtual BCONE book club and starting a hiking club. Both are gaining traction and getting high marks from participants at a time when they need it most.    

    Coler, President of Hydrotechnology Consultants Inc. (HCI), Jersey City, N.J., formed the BCONE Brownfields, Books and Beer Club -- formatting it as a virtual event -- during the early part of 2020, when people were working remotely and stuck at home for long periods of time.  

    “My aim has been to raise the environmental consciousness of brownfield practitioners.” The iconic stories demonstrate that the average person possesses the ability to effect real and substantial change,” Coler says.  

    Coler envisions the book club as a potential gateway to attracting new people to BCONE and the brownfield industry. One pre-existing challenge is that many budding environmental professionals opt for careers in more “sexy” fields, such as renewable energy, sustainability and climate change. Many overlook brownfields as a career.

    “Anyone living around contaminated sites or those teaching about contaminated sites -- they all have the power to convey information about these sites,” says Coler, who has more than 15 years of experience in the environmental consulting field and is a Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) with the state of New Jersey. 

    There are some compelling historical examples about lessons learned --and they are being showcased in the book club.  

    Coler cites Love Canal during the late 1970s as something that has impacted peoples’ “heads and, more importantly, their hearts. That environmental saga changed the world and highlighted  how human health and safety have been put in peril. The purpose of the book club is to remind people of the arc of environmental consciousness: where we are and how much further we need to go.” 

    Coler cites scientists and citizen activists who have propelled the environmental movement forward. One is Rachel Carson. The book club participants were exposed to the voice and courage that Carson exuded in her iconic book “Silent Spring,” which challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government, calling for change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

    In writing the book, Carson, a writer, scientist and ecologist spoke out to remind that humanity is a vulnerable part of the natural world, and is subject to the same damage as the rest of the ecosystem. Testifying before Congress in 1963, Carson called for new policies to protect human health and the environment. Carson, who died in 1964, grew up in the rural river town of Springdale, PA. 

    “It was an awakening—it informed the whole environmental movement of the1960s, and it woke up a generation, so we started with that book,” says Coler. 

    Coler says that without Rachel Carson there would be no Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental activist known for challenging world leaders to take immediate action for climate change mitigation -- all at the age of 18.

    “It’s a passing of the baton -- and it’s a narrative that says, ‘never underestimate the ability of a small group of people to change the world,' in fact, it’s often the small groups that effect change most dramatically.” 

    The group has also read “Love Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present” (Richard S. Newman) and Pulitzer Prize winner, “Toms River” (Dan Fagin.)

    In the summer of 1978, residents of Love Canal, Niagara Falls, N.Y., protested against the leaking toxic waste dump in their midst, a 16-acre site containing 100,000 barrels of chemical waste that infested their neighborhood. Initially seeking evacuation, area activists soon found they were engaged in a far larger battle over the meaning of America’s industrial past and its environmental future. 

    “While Silent Spring produced a narrative centered around the dangers of pesticides, Love Canal and Toms River opened the nation’s eyes to hazardous waste. in their midst.” 

    “We are exploring the commonalities of these stories -- you have these archetypes who are integral to each story: the attorney who won’t give up, the citizen scientist who won’t take no for an answer, the civil servant who acts out of a sense of duty, and the scientist who vows to take a closer look, despite conventional wisdom.” 

    In the case of Love Canal, the activist citizens exerted enough pressure that it forced former President Jimmy Carter to sign sweeping legislation now known as Superfund. “The aim of the book club is to attract people to the mission of remediating brownfield sites. To build a sustainable 21st century, we must address the vestiges of the 19th and 20th centuries.”

    “These stories teach us that these are hard-earned rights—that we have to keep earning them every day,” says Coler, who holds a B.S. in Environmental Science, B.A. in Physics and minor in English Literature from Rutgers University and who is often retained as an expert witness. “These stories have the seeds of knowledge to help us build a sustainable world. They are not radical stories. They are the stories of regular citizens fighting for their basic rights to live in safe neighborhoods with clean water, soil, and air.” 

    The book club has evolved from a few core members to nearly 20 registered participants.  Coler is a guest lecturer on topics covered in the book club for the Phase I/Phase II course taught by Angelo Lampousis, a BCONE board member and City College of New York (CCNY) professor. Students from the CCNY class and the Stevens Institute of Technology program led by Professor Dibyendu “Dibs” Sarkar are invited to join the book club and gain extra credits, as well as a unique understanding of the brownfield industry and the history of the environmental movement in the United States. Inquisitive students often remain on the Zoom call to ask questions long after the book club session is over. “My goal is to increase the participation of graduate and undergraduate students, to plant the seeds of environmental awareness and to give them a reason to join the effort to remediate contaminated sites across the country and the world.”

    Regarding the hiking club, Coler had to “re-think activities that were possible and safe when Covid hit. The hikes create a sense of community and environmental awareness. A geology field guide explains the ancient origins of the land features, while an ecology field guide describes the flora and fauna indigenous to the area and how the ecosystem may have changed over time with human intervention and environmental degradation.

    Photos from some of the hiking trips and the tea ceremony.

    Coler and Anne Lazo, BCONE webmaster, avid hiker and runner, and owner of Eagle Soars, a marketing firm, are taking the hiking club to “the next level” in the spring of 2022, when an overnight excursion is planned on the Appalachian Trail. In addition to ecology and geology field guides, and with a nod to recent severe weather events, Coler and Lazo plan to enlist the involvement of a survivalist, who will teach the participants survival skills such as foraging and fire building. Look for registration information in 2022.

    Lazo backpacking on the AT in North Carolina with her nephew.

  • 06 Oct 2021 2:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Binghamton University Libraries Grant:   A Springboard to Accelerative Sustainability Education & Practice

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Editor’s Note: BCONE’s Executive Director was part of an invigorating discussion this summer with Jen Embree, Neyda Gilman, and Carrie Blabac-Myers, Development Officer for the Binghamton University Libraries. Librarians were not a group that BCONE had ever considered as brownfield remediation and redevelopment allies, but this summer’s discussion  generated ideas for possible future projects including  additional learning and teaching opportunities for students seeking environmental careers.

    Learn more about Embree and Gilman in the article, below,  as well as in this this piece from Binghamton University:

    https://libnews.binghamton.edu/connections/2021/08/24/alumni-connections/ 

    At Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., two subject librarians are quickly becoming sustainability evangelists in their daily involvement with faculty, staff and students—all via new tools and measures that came about after the university libraries received a primary grant from the American Library Association. The grant, which was announced last fall, provides additional resources and motivation for the libraries to expand sustainability-related work that had already started to some degree.

    Neyda Gilman and Jen Embree, both subject librarians at Binghamton, are setting a course to carry out sustainability best practices at the university, and are eager to see how the grant from last fall will make inroads into that effort.

    Efforts along the sustainability spectrum are curbing carbon emissions, water efficiency, waste reduction, biodiversity, sustainable building design, wind and solar energy, crop rotation, geothermal practices and fostering an assurance of more green spaces in the urban infill.

    From a brownfield environmental remediation perspective, professionals are always seeking ways to implement better and more efficient green and sustainable cleanup strategies.  

    Both Gilman and Embree do not have “official” sustainability education or training; but, both have long been strong proponents for sustainable practices. With this grant, the university libraries program can set out to accelerate broad practices and in turn receive university-level buy-in. 

    Multi-faceted components

    The primary goal of the ALA grant is to “help libraries engage their communities in programs and conversations that address the climate crisis.”

    At Binghamton, the distinction of the ALA grant—something that adds clarity and relevance—is the fact that the university serves as only one of five academic libraries in the U.S. to receive it, as all 20 other recipients are U.S.-based local public libraries. (Binghamton U. is the lone academic library in New York State to receive the full grant.) 

    Among the resources that Binghamton University can now implement on the road to preaching sustainable living is an expanding DVD library offering access to several climate related films. Most of these will be used for streaming events.

    Some themes include, “How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change,” “Decoding the Weather Machine” and “Chasing Ice.” Some sustainability-related events and activities will be available throughout campus, and the grant will see an advancement of the Binghamton University Seed Library, says Gilman. 

    The Seed Library, located in the Science Library on main campus, allows individuals to “borrow” seeds to grow with the intention of harvesting and returning seeds at the end of the season. Seed libraries have multiple benefits, including:

    • Promoting biodiversity, preserving genetic diversity;
    • Providing community members with seeds to grow healthy food to supplement their diet;
    • Supporting local seed-savers and gardeners; and
    • Encouraging increased engagement between the library and the community.

    Anyone can come into the Binghamton University Science Library to access the Seed Library. Individuals can take seeds of each type of plant to grow, with seeds pre-divided into envelopes for ease. The university is providing tutorials on how to harvest seeds as well as have various events surrounding the topic. 

    The Mission Expands

    The actual grant sum for Binghamton Libraries is modest—$1,000—but it’s about more than the funds: One key intangible outgrowth of the grant is that the university will receive ongoing support from the ALA in its efforts, says Gilman. “The financial aspect helps us get started, but the grant equates to program prestige [via the ALA sanctioning it as such] and helps us market this program better,” says Gilman, who is assistant head of sustainability and STEM engagement, and has been at Binghamton University for five years.

    Gilman says that while she doesn’t possess “formal” training in sustainability practices, she says practicing it has been “a personal calling for decades. I am very confident in the knowledge I have accumulated around sustainability practices.”

    Prior to receiving the grant, Gilman says “sustainability was never part of our job description, so the grant came at a good time as we can now make it part of our job description,” says Gilman, who is the subject librarian supporting nursing and pharmaceutical schools at the university: It is in this role that the staff and faculty of these areas of learning can tap Gilman as the go-to resources as they further their research and study.

    Embree serves as the sustainability hub coordinator, and has been with the university for three years. She is the subject librarian for biology, psychology and comparative literature, just to name three areas of education. A UCONN graduate, Embree has taken multiple classes in the sustainability field, and is now poised to use the grant to power up her knowledge through practice.

    “The grant also serves as a way for Neyda and me to move forward in more of a team approach. You can do more—and it made us focus our energy better. We now also have an official Sustainability Hub,” she says. 

    What lies ahead in 2021 and into 2022 for the libraries program is to disseminate the many tenets grounded in sustainable lifestyles, “sharing what is happening on campus, spreading it and getting people involved to learn. There are many people with an interest in sustainability that lack an easy way to obtain the knowledge and the tools. We have several platforms for them to obtain this knowledge now,” says Gilman. 

    “What we want to accomplish is to maintain a sustainability culture among students and faculty—not just in the study curriculum but it’s a lifestyle thing. That is what we are trying to accomplish,” says Embree. 

    Question for our Readers:  There must be additional professions which BCONE should add to its lists of  allies. Who and what are we missing?  Let us know of other amazing people you have encountered so BCONE can get to know them better.

  • 10 Aug 2021 1:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Steve Dwyer 

    Three BCONE members are making their mark -- and in a hurry. They’ve progressed from membership to committee chairs and/or board members in short order, and are now tasked with recruiting, and appealing to, younger industry professionals within a fledgling BCONE mentorship committee.

    The threesome include: Alexa Fiumarelli, environmental scientist, Boswell Engineering, South Hackensack, N.J.; Almariet Palm-Roberts, project geologist, HRP, Farmington, Conn.; and Melina Ambrosino, executive vice president, Newton, Mass.-based Cherrytree Group LLC.

        

    During the summer, the three women were busy establishing a working blueprint for this new BCONE committee that is founded on the premise of advocating for and mentoring young professionals—ones who might already be BCONE members and ones who might be interested in joining the organization.

    The beauty of this newly formed committee is that all three members have diversified industry experience across three Northeast states—Connecticut, New Jersey and Massachusetts. 

    As part of the mentoring committee vision, the trio is branching out engage with students at colleges and universities—mentoring would-be brownfield professionals. The committee, which might ultimately be billed as the “Developing Emerging Leaders,” is designed to “find and network with young, emerging leaders and determine ways for them to flourish,” says Fiumarelli, who has accumulated experience as an industrial hygienist responsible for performing air monitoring of formaldehyde gas, carbon dioxide, and oxygen on various construction sites. 

    Alexa has accumulated project management/supervision experience where she provides solutions around air management, while working independently,  traveling to different locations throughout New Jersey to provide health and safety surveillance. Focusing on earning a Master’s degree from Rutgers in public health, she says one mentoring advantage that she and her colleagues are able to offer as young professionals is the ability to relate to young professional and students well. 

    “We’re more in touch with younger people—we’ve recently walked in their shoes. I recently wrote a short definition of what a mentor is and the word that first came to mind is ‘trust.’ I told one of my ‘mentees’ at William Paterson University [Wayne, N.J., where she volunteers as a mentor] that I am your connection for life. I can help lift you up and you can also help lift me up as well—it works both ways.”

    When she joined BCONE, Fiumarelli was eager to dive right into committee involvement, and was a member of the Scholarship committee. She ultimately thought there was a more optimal committee assignment that would align best with her skill sets. The soon-to-be created mentoring committee was ideal.

    Diverse Backgrounds 

    All three  mentoring committee co-chairs have eclectic backgrounds, which adds a broad perspective to the effort. Ambrosino is a tax credit manager overseeing the brownfield redevelopment side of business, while Roberts is a project geologist for HRP Associates, where she works to minimize environmental risks associated with client projects, all to help them reach intended business goals.

    Fiumarelli, who had formerly been with Whitman Co., an engineering firm in Cranberry, N.J., recently joined Boswell as an industrial hygiene/environmental scientist. “My experience with brownfields historically has been processing OSHA complaints, solar jobs, LSRP due diligence, Phase I and Phase II site investigation, and more,” she explains. 

    Palm-Roberts, who has been a BCONE member for two years and is in her second year on the board, has been working with the Connecticut expansion committee, and is now eager to branch out with a second committee assignment, mentoring. 

    Speaking about the theme of emerging leaders, Palm-Roberts, who is a UCONN grad, says that college graduates entering the work force “need guidance to make them aware of their options, and it’s a tricky thing where you have to try and match your specific skill set with various positions,” she says. “Seeing their future in this industry can be unclear to newly minted professionals, who can become discouraged. It’s for this reason they need a support system to facilitate for them. It can be intimidating talking to people in their field: I know I was intimidated at one time, So, the three of us think that we can work to be that ‘bridge.’ ”

    Palm-Roberts states that the term, “it’s who you know,” is often the way young people climb the ladder quickly. But the Catch-22 is getting the foot through the door initially. “How do you get to know the important people in your field? Cold calling is difficult, so as this committee is formed, we can serve as that conduit, to allow young professionals to formulate these bonds organically. Plus, having a forum such as social events that we’ll sponsor will be really useful.”

    In fact, Palm-Roberts likes the idea of scheduling dinners, community service and happy hour events, including virtual events if the impacts of the pandemic continue to keep people away from attending live events. “The more regularly we can host events, the more your base grows. I think we’ll start out deciding if events should be monthly or quarterly. The key is to get people involved and committed—and it’s tricky getting people committed to something.” 

    Alexa Fiumarelli, meantime, says one objective of the team will be its close collaboration with the BCONE Scholarship committee, where perhaps the college students who are being mentored might be identified as eligible candidates for the BCONE annual Charlie Bartsch Memorial Scholarship. 

    “Going forward, the three of us will be in communication regularly,” she says. “We want to get social media going too, with an emphasis on Facebook and LinkedIn to scout for and communicate with young professionals. There’s a lot to look forward to!” 

  • 26 Jul 2021 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Long-time collaborators -- AEG-NYP, AHMP-NJ, BCONE, LSRPA and NJSWEP -- were back together at the summer networking event, watching the Trenton Thunder vs. Syracuse Mets game of July 22, 2021, and catching up after 16 months of all virtual meetings and networking events. Seventy-five people from the NJ-NY-PA region, and from all sectors of the remediation and redevelopment worlds were there, spending a perfect summer night enjoying baseball, beverages, fireworks and festivity. Thanks to the event sponsors: AWT, Mount Group, and SGS. Thanks also to the raffle sponsor, Hill Environmental/SET. The winner of the random drawing, John Iannotti, with the full agreement of sponsor Greg Hill, donated the cash prize to fund scholarships for the next generation of remediation professionals.  

    Check the summer and fall schedules of all of the participating organizations for future in-person events. There are a few on the books already.


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