EPA Grants $64.6 Million in FY19 Brownfield Funding to 149 Communities
149 communities across the country will receive a share of $64.6 Million in EPA funding for Brownfields Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup Grants to help address potentially contaminated properties.
Today, June 5, 2019, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler traveled to Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, joined by the White House Executive Director for the Opportunity and Revitalization Council Scott Turner, to announce that EPA had selected 149 communities to receive 151 different grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs.
40% of the communities selected for funding will be receiving such assistance for the first time.
These brownfield redevelopment funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, often in Opportunity Zones, as well as other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties, which are sometimes contaminated by one or more hazardous substance leftover from prior owners and tenants. A “brownfield” defined as a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
“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 EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas that fall within Opportunity Zones.”
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. The enormous public return on brownfield investment has been demonstrated repeatedly. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:
Efficient Use of Taxpayer Dollars: the EPA Brownfields program passes through to local projects and leveraged nearly $18 for every $1 invested into the program.
Increase Local Tax Revenue: 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.
Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized Brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.
108 communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.”
Some of the Opportunity Zone projects selected for funding include:
- 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.
- Waukegan, Illinois – to remediate vacant property, along Lake Michigan, which is expected to spur redevelopment of the lakefront.
- 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.
In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants.
Don’t miss Brownfields 2019!
The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. Offered only every other year, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. Registration opens June 10!