WASHINGTON, D.C., May 10, 2005 — Communities in 44 states will share more than $75 million in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, transforming them from problem properties into community assets.
“The Brownfields Program puts both property and people back to work,” EPA Administrator Steve Johnson said. “These grants will help communities across America convert eyesores into engines of economic rebirth.”
Brownfields are sites where potentially harmful contaminants may be impeding revitalization. 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 mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum or areas polluted by the manufacture of illegal drugs.
In addition to the grants being 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. These include:
* 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 percent of the people completing Brownfields training programs have landed jobs in the environmental field.
The Brownfields Program promotes redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. 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.
In addition to promoting industrial and commercial redevelopment, 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.
For more information on the grant recipients, go to: http://www.epa.gov/swerosps/bf/archive/pilot_arch.htm. For more information on Brownfields in general, go to: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.