EPA Awards $71 Million to Help Brownfields Bloom into Productivity
Communities in 38 states will receive brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use. Two territories and five tribal nations also will share the $70.7 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“By transforming thousands of blighted sites into engines of economic rebirth, EPA’s Brownfields program is proving to be one of the greatest environmental success stories of the past decade,” said Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “These grants build on the Bush Administration’s commitment of handing down a healthier, more prosperous future to the next generation of Americans.”
Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. In January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes annual funding for brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of brownfields, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.
This year, 202 applicants were selected to receive 294 assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants. The $70.7 million will provide:
189 assessment grants totaling $36.8 million to be used to conduct site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
92 cleanup grants totaling $17.9 million to provide funding for grant recipients to carry out cleanup activities at brownfields sites they own.
13 revolving loan fund grants totaling $16 million to provide funding for communities to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide subgrants to carry cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low interest loans for brownfields cleanups.
The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, EPA has awarded 1,067 assessment grants totaling more than $262 million, 217 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $201.7 million, and 336 cleanup grants totaling $61.3 million.
In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas stations to housing. EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $9.6 billion in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 43,029 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 10,504 properties and the cleanup of 180 properties.
Information on the grant recipients: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields
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