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EPA Announces Brownfields Grants
149 Communities to Receive Over $64 Million

EPA Announces Brownfields Grants

Grants awarded by EPA's Brownfield Program provide communities assistance in turning contaminated sites into community assets that spur economic development according to the administration.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently selected 149 communities to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding to help assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

The ones chosen to benefit from the Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grant Programs were designated under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in Opportunity Zones - economically-distressed communities where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment - and other parts of the country. Forty percent of the communities will receive assistance for the first time, which according to EPA administer Andrew Wheeler proves the EPA is "reaching areas that may (have) previously been neglected."

"These grants fulfill several of President Trump's top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment," said Wheeler stated. "We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most."

Past benefits cited by the EPA of Brownfields grants include:

  • Local tax revenue increase: A study of 48 Brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.

  • Increased residential property values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized Brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

The EPA provided a partial list of the most recent Opportunity Zone sites and projects:

  • Detroit, Michigan - to clean up the Riverside Park and provide a unique recreational venue that will include energy efficient LED and solar-powered lighting throughout the park.

  • Rock Falls, Illinois - to clean up the last brownfield site along Rock River, making it the final obstacle overcome before riverfront redevelopment.

  • Columbus, Georgia - to clean up dilapidated buildings near the Chattahoochee Waterfront, including a restaurant, offices, warehouses, covered loading areas, and a vehicle maintenance building.

  • Huntington, West Virginia - to help redevelop former facilities into a new multistate enterprise, which is aimed at producing sustainable jobs through materials upcycling, recycling, composting operations, and logistics.

  • Belfast, Maine - to help clean up and revitalize a contaminated building and make energy-efficient improvements such as LED lighting, triple-glazed windows, and a solar electricity-generating system that is expected to generate 100 percent of the building's energy needs.

The complete list of communities selected for the 2019 grants is available here:

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December 9, 2019, 6:25 am PDT

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