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$1.8 Million in Grants for Contaminated Land Cleanup, Economic Development in Rhode Island

Release Date: 05/18/2009
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – May 18, 2009) – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced today the nationwide availability of an estimated $111.9 million in grants bolstered by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help communities clean up sites known as “brownfields” which may be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants.

The grants for Rhode Island, which include $1.2 million from the Recovery Act and $600,000 from the EPA brownfields general program funding, will help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use.

“Cleaning and reusing contaminated properties provides the catalyst to improving the lives of residents living in or near brownfields communities,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “A revitalized brownfields site reduces threats to human health and the environment, creates green jobs, promotes community involvement, and attracts investment in local neighborhoods.”

“EPA's Brownfield's program has been an incredibly powerful economic engine, helping communities throughout New England to assess, clean and reclaim abandoned parcels, returning property to productive uses," said Ira Leighton, acting regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "We are proud that with an additional $1.2 million for Brownfields work in Rhode Island, the Recovery Act will be helping to jump start local economies, putting people to work creating a cleaner and healthier environment."

Applicants selected to receive Recovery Act funds are:

- Rhode Island Dept. of Environmental Management, $1 million, community-wide “coalition” grant
- City of Woonsocket, $200,000, cleanup grant

Applicants selected to receive brownfields general program funds are:

- City of East Providence, $200,000, cleanup grant for Riverside Square
- Town of Glocester, $200,000, cleanup grant for Chepachet River State Park site
- City of Pawtucket, $200,000, cleanup grant

The grants will help to assess, cleanup and redevelop abandoned, contaminated properties known as brownfields. Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In addition, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2002 expanded the definition of a brownfield to include mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture of illegal drugs. Grant recipients are selected through a national competition. The Brownfields Program encourages development of America's estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Recovery.gov.

More information:

Brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund pilots and grants and other brownfields activities under the Recovery Act (www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm)

EPA’s Brownfields program in New England (epa.gov/ne/brownfields/grants.html)

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