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EPA awards $1.9 million to revitalize Montana communities

Release Date: 04/20/2010
Contact Information: Daniel Heffernan, 303-312-7074; Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654

Brownfields grants target abandoned industrial sites, underground storage tanks, meth labs

(Denver, Colorado – April 20, 2010) The revitalization of blighted properties in several Montana communities received a big boost today as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $1.9 million in brownfields cleanup grants for projects across the state. EPA announced that the Great Northern Development Corporation will receive $1.5 million to clean sites contaminated by hazardous substances and petroleum in a 15-county area of eastern Montana. In addition, Lewis and Clark County will receive $400,000 for projects to remove contaminated soils and protect groundwater at several candidate properties, include a former foundry, a metal ore mill site and a post-and-pole facility

"Strengthening our nation’s communities is one of EPA’s top priorities,” said Carol Rushin, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator in Denver. "These grants will help Montana revitalize contaminated properties and leverage new economic opportunities in the communities that need them most.”

Great Northern Development Corporation
Revolving Loan Fund Grant: $1,000,000 for hazardous substances; $500,000 for petroleum

The Great Northern Development Corporation (GNDC) will receive a $1.5 million grant for its revolving loan fund program. The EPA grant will be used to capitalize a fund from which the corporation will provide loans and sub-grants to support cleanup activities at sites contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum. Local officials have identified hundreds of contaminated sites in the region, including leaking underground storage tank sites and several methamphetamine labs.

The GNDC serves a 15-county area with a combined population of 64,000 in eastern Montana. This area includes Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Garfield, McCone, Prairie, Powder River, Roosevelt, Rosebud, Sheridan, Treasure, Valley, and Wibaux Counties, including the Fort Peck Sioux and Assiniboine and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations. The GNDC’s coalition partners include the Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation and the Southeastern Montana Development Corporation.

Lewis and Clark County
Assessment Grants: $200,000 for hazardous substances; $200,000 for petroleum

Lewis and Clark County will receive two brownfields grants totaling $400,000 to update an inventory of contaminated sites and conduct up to six environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop cleanup plans for two sites and conduct community outreach and health monitoring activities.

Located in southwestern Montana, Lewis and Clark County includes the Cities of Helena and East Helena and the Towns of Lincoln, Augusta, Wolf Creek, Craig, and Marysville. The county has identified several potential brownfield sites, including a former foundry, metal ore mill site, and post-and-pole facility. In addition, several former methamphetamine labs in the county pose serious health and safety risks. Groundwater quality is of particular concern, as more than 55 percent of residents in the Helena area use groundwater as their sole source of drinking water. Brownfield assessments are expected to help the county facilitate site cleanups, and assist in advancing redevelopment goals.

Nationwide, EPA is providing $78.9 million for brownfields projects in communities in 40 states, four tribes, and one U.S. Territory. This funding will be used for the assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of properties, including abandoned gas stations, old textile mills, closed smelters, and other abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

In total, EPA is awarding 304 grants through the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants programs:

188 assessment grants, totaling $42.56 million, will conduct site assessment and planning for cleanup at one or more brownfields sites as part of a community-wide effort.

    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.

      The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites. As 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. Many of these investments target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, providing for much needed jobs, jumpstarting businesses and reducing environmental and human health risks.

      More information on the FY 2010 grant recipients: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/

      More information on EPA’s brownfields program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/

      Brownfields success stories: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm