Researching Past Uses of New York Industrial Sites
Whether defending against Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) claims, conducting All Appropriate Inquiries (AAls) for Brownfield redevelopments, or identifying potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for natural resource damages (NRD) cost allocations, environmental practitioners have seen an increased demand for knowledge of the past uses of industrial sites. Nowhere is this demand more prevalent than in New York, the historical locus of much American industrialization and the current location of hundreds of potentially lucrative Brownfield redevelopment sites. With a focus on New York records repositories and sources, this article presents a historian’s perspective on the proper methodology to employ in researching the past uses of industrial sites and discusses some of the key records that are available to environmental practitioners through diligent research.
Published in Environmental Law in New York newsletter, Volume 20, No.5, May 2009.