Epa Distributes $75.9 Million In New Round Of Brownfield Revitalizatio
Cities, towns and tribes in 44 states will share more than $75.9 million in brownfields grants distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties into community assets.
Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by environmental contamination. The brownfields program promotes redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.
The city of Elizabeth, New Jersey, for example, was selected to receive a $200,000 brownfields assessment grant. The target area is the Elizabethport neighborhood of Elizabeth, which is a federal Enterprise Community.
Elizabethport has a large Hispanic and African-American population, and its per capita income is lower than the city as a whole. The neighborhood is surrounded by industrial facilities and has 22 sites that have been identified as contaminated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
The $200,000 grant will be used to perform a site assessment on a Livingston Street site where a former metals treatment plant stands. The site is thought to be contaminated with chromium and other heavy metals. Funds also will be used to conduct community outreach and develop a cleanup plan.
This assessment is part of a larger redevelopment effort underway in the neighborhood that will bring commercial shops, such as a supermarket, pharmacy and other retail establishments, as well as market-rate housing units, to the area. These activities are also expected to contribute to the revitalization of the Elizabethport marina and recreational area.
The Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. That law broadened the definition of a brownfield to include lands scarred by mines, or sites contaminated by petroleum.
In addition to the grants announced today, participants in the brownfields program gain access to the expertise and other resources from more than 20 federal agencies.
There are four categories of grants being awarded with 218 applicants, including three tribal nations, selected to receive 302 grants totaling $75.9 million.
The categories are;
–172 assessment grants, worth $33.6 million, to assess and plan for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfield sites;
–106 cleanup grants, totaling $19.3 million, for recipients to clean up brownfield sites they own;
–13 revolving loan fund grants, totaling $20.8 million, which communities use to make low-interest loans for the cleanup of brownfield sites;
-11 job-training grants, valued at $2.2 million, for environmental training of people who live in brownfield communities.
More than 60 % of the people completing brownfields training programs have landed jobs in the environmental field, the EPA says.
Since its inception in 1995, the program has awarded 709 assessment grants totaling over $190 million, 189 revolving loan fund grants worth more than $165 million, and $26.8 million for 150 cleanup grants.
Brownfields projects have converted industrial waterfronts to riverfront parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas station sites to housing.
EPA’s brownfields assistance has led to more than $7 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment, helped create more than 31,000 jobs, and resulted in the assessment of more than 5,100 properties.
Provided by the Environmental News Service.