The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)yesterday awarded 144 communities that will receive Brownfields grants for environmental assessment, revolving loan funds, and cleanups. The 221 grants totaling $54.3 million will provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop underutilized properties while protecting public health and the environment. The grants include $2.7 million to support seven Brownfields projects in Pennsylvania.
“EPA’s Brownfields Program expands the ability of communities to recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses, using existing infrastructure” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “These grants leverage other public and private investments, and improve local economies through property cleanup and redevelopment.”
“EPA’s Brownfields grants provide a boost to communities by helping to put people back to work while also creating cleaner, healthier and economically stronger neighborhoods,” said EPA Region 3 Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Pennsylvania communities will use this funding to explore ideas on how properties can be cleaned up and returned to productive use.”
The local Brownfields projects in Pennsylvania include the following:
Lycoming County will receive an $800,000 revolving loan fund grant to support cleanup activities for Brownfields sites contaminated with hazardous substances. The county will focus much of this funding to support City of Williamsport and Muncy Borough, both of which have supported industry since the early 19th century due to their proximity to rail lines.
Earth Conservancy will receive $200,000 to clean up a 400-foot segment of Espy Run that runs through the City of Nanticoke and Hanover Township. Espy Run travels through mine-scarred lands once used for anthracite mining. The stream is impacted by sedimentation and acid mine drainage. Grant funds will also support community outreach activities and monitoring.
The Brownfields Program targets communities that are economically disadvantaged and provides funding and assistance to transform contaminated sites into assets that can generate jobs and spur economic growth. A study analyzing 48 Brownfields sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments 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 Brownfield sites. Another study found that property values of homes located near Brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent post cleanup.
Communities can use Brownfields funding to leverage considerable infrastructure and other financial resources. For example, EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund can be used to address the water quality aspects of Brownfield sites and the assessment and construction of drinking water infrastructure on Brownfields, respectively. EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program may also serve as a potential source of long-term, low-cost supplemental financing to fund Brownfields project development and implementation activities to address water quality aspects of Brownfields.
List of the FY 2018 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy18-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-grants.
For more information on the ARC grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding.
For more information on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields.
For more information on how Brownfields restoration has positively impacted local economies and the quality of life for neighboring communities: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories.