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Turn Brownfields into Greenfields
Do you have abandoned gas stations or factory sites in your community? Those are probably designated "brownfields". The federal brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.
Across the nation, nearly $80 million in brownfields grants will be used for the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.
Green Jobs and More Sustainable Communities“Cleaning up and reusing distressed properties brings new jobs and stronger communities,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator for EPA in the Pacific Southwest. “In addition to creating green jobs, local efforts to revitalize brownfield sites reduce threats to public health while attracting positive investments in our neighborhoods.”
Lyon County, Nevada was selected to receive a brownfields assessment coalition grant. The county’s coalition partners are the Cities of Fernley and Yerington. Lyon County (population 53,022) contains many sites that use, store, and generate petroleum products. In 2002, Lyon County ranked among the worst counties in the nation for waste generation and air emissions. The county also has had the highest unemployment rate in the state for the past two years, with an unemployment rate of nearly 16 percent in August 2009.
The county is one of the top four most distressed counties in the nation. Grant funds will focus on four Brownfields Target Areas located along the major transportation corridors of U.S. Highways 50 and 95A and State Highway 208. Assessment of brownfields is expected to jump-start the county’s distressed redevelopment market by facilitating cleanup of contaminated sites.
EPA Brownfields Program for Training, Funding, Technical AssistanceAs of March 2010, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding, and 61,277 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment.
These investments and jobs target local, under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods – places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. Cleaning up our communities is one of EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson’s priorities, which leads not only to health and environmental benefits but also economic development and prosperity.
17 revolving loan fund grants, totaling $17 million, will provide loans and subgrants for communities to begin cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low interest loans for brownfields cleanups.
99 cleanup grants, totaling $19.36 million, will provide funding for grant recipients to carryout cleanup activities at brownfield sites they own.
Since the beginning of the brownfields program in 1995, EPA has awarded 1,702 assessment grants totaling $401 million, 262 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $256.7 million, and 655 cleanup grants totaling $129.4 million. As part of Administrator Jackson’s commitment to this program, the 2011 proposed budget includes an increase of $215 million for brownfields with a focus on planning, cleanup, job training and redevelopment.
Mines, Manufacturing, Drug Sites...Quality for Brownfield ProgramIn 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed. The brownfields law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum, or sites contaminated as a result of manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs (e.g. meth labs).
More information on EPA’s brownfields program, success stories, and FY 2010 grant recipients: www.epa.gov/brownfields