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EPA Grants to Help Revitalize Communities in Mississippi Impacted by Hurricane Katrina

Release Date: 05/12/2006
Contact Information: Laura Niles, 404-562-8353, niles.laura@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – May 12, 2006) The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has been named as a successful applicant of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields grants that will be used to identify and inventory post-Hurricane Katrina Brownfields in the Gulf Coast Region. Funds also will be used to perform environmental site assessments, community involvement activities, and cleanup planning. When brownfields are revitalized, they will be critical to the reconstruction of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Brownfields redevelopment will help to rebuild the state’s Gulf Coast Region, support the state’s economy, and reduce threats to human health and the environment. The combined total of Brownfields grant funds for assessment of properties in Mississippi will be $400,000.

MDEQ will receive $200,000 for hazardous substances assessments and $200,000 for petroleum site assessments for targeted communities in Hancock, Harrison and Jackson Counties. Specific communities include: Bay St. Louis; Biloxi; D’Iberville; Gautier; Gulfport; Long Beach; Pascagoula; Pass Christian; Ocean Springs; Moss Point; and Waveland.

In the Southeast, 22 applicants were selected to receive grants for assessment or cleanup of properties. Nationally, communities in 44 states and two territories, as well as three tribes will share $69.9 million in grants to help transform community eyesores into community gems. Since the beginning of the brownfields program, EPA has awarded 883 assessment grants totaling $225.4 million, 202 revolving loan fund grants totaling $186.7 million, and 238 cleanup grants totaling $42.7 million.

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 January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

More information on the grant recipients in the Southeast and throughout the nation: epa.gov/brownfields/archive/pilot_arch.htm

More information on the Brownfields program: epa.gov/brownfields