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EPA Initiates Brownfield Cleanup on Old Industrial Sites

Nineteen communities will get $3.8 million to help clean up their brownfield sites, all part of the Brownfields Area-Wide Planning program In some cases, the current owner pays for the brownfield site assessment and clean-up. In other cases, the purchaser may pay clean-up costs.

Each recipient will receive up to $200,000 to engage their community and conduct planning activities for brownfield site reuse, according to the Environmental Protection Agency that issued the monies. The grants will go toward everything from transportation options to health facilities to renewed infrastructure to increased commerce to housing.

A brownfield site is a former industrial or commercial location that has been adversely affected by environmental contamination and where its future use is in doubt.

“The Area-Wide Planning grant program is an innovation initiated by the Obama Administration to empower communities to transform economically and environmentally distressed areas, including communities impacted by manufacturing plant closures, into vibrant future destinations for business, jobs, housing and recreation,” said Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management. “These grants provide the opportunity for communities to determine for themselves revitalization plans that best meet their vision and needs based on a rigorous analysis of market and infrastructure in a manner that benefits and does not displace long-term residents.”

Who typically pays for such clean ups? In some cases, the current owner pays for the brownfield site assessment and clean-up, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. In other cases, the purchaser may pay clean-up costs while in others, the sites are eligible for federal grants.

According to EPA, the data shows that brownfields clean ups can increase overall property values within a one-mile radius. Preliminary analysis involving 48 brownfields sites shows that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup, it adds.

Among the recipients, according to EPA’s release:City of Providence, Rhode Island, City of Wilmington, Delaware, City of Norfolk, Va., City of Middlesborough, Kentucky, the Port of New Orleans, the City of Burlington, Iowa and the City of Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

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