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EPA Promotes Brownfields Revitalization with Grant to Toa Baja; Puerto Rico Grantee to Receive $200,000

Release Date: 06/22/2004
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(#04096) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny today announced that the Agency has awarded a $200,000 grant to Toa Baja to jumpstart the future revitalization of a local brownfield; brownfields are abandoned or underused industrial sites that may have levels of contamination that impede redevelopment.

Toa Baja will use the funds to conduct an assessment of a former medical center site in its Pueblo Ward, develop a cleanup plan, and carry out community outreach. A variety of solvents and metals may have contaminated this site. Toa Baja is among 265 areas selected nationwide to receive more than $75 million in grants to promote the revitalization or reuse of properties that may be contaminated.

"The brownfields program reflects a new model in environmental protection that is locally-based, forges strong public-private partnerships, and promotes innovation and creativity," said Jane M. Kenny. "It's an approach that creates opportunities for redevelopment with local solutions to solve local problems."

Through its brownfields program, EPA provides communities the tools they need to reclaim and restore thousands of brownfields sites that present relatively low risks to people's health. Four competitive grants programs provide funding to eligible applicants for brownfields assessments, cleanups and job training; and revolving loan funds. The brownfields program now allows states, the Commonwealth and local governments and nonprofit organizations to apply for funding, greatly expanding the pool eligible for assistance.

With the Toa Baja grant, EPA has awarded over $2 million to Puerto Rico grantees through the various brownfields grant programs. Three Brownfields Pilot grants totaling $500,000 were previously awarded to the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company, the Puerto Rico Infrastructure Financing Authority and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority; Metropolitan University received a $200,000 grant for job training, and the Commonwealth was the recipient of $1.2 million to support its Voluntary Cleanup Program, site assessments and other brownfields work. Nationwide, the Agency has leveraged more than $5.8 billion in private investment, helped create more than 27,000 jobs and facilitated the assessment of more than 4500 properties.