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EPA: $3.1 million in grants for contaminated land cleanup, economic development in Minnesota

Release Date: 05/08/2009
Contact Information: Mick Hans, 312-353-5050, hans.mick@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 09-OPA080

Grant amount bolstered by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds

(Chicago - May 8, 2009) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced today the availability of an estimated $3.1 million in grants bolstered by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help communities in Minnesota clean up sites known as "brownfields" which may be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants. The grants which include $1.8 million from the Recovery Act and $1.3 million from the EPA brownfields general program funding, help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive community use.

All of the Minnesota grantees announced today are in the St. Paul area.

"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."

"Providing these grants to St. Paul area communities is an important step forward for both the environment and local economies," said Bharat Mathur, acting regional administrator.

Applicants selected to receive Recovery Act funds are:

St. Paul, $200,000 hazardous substances cleanup grant to address the Bruce Vento Interpretive Center site at 293 Commercial St., and two nearby properties.

St. Paul Port Authority (4), a $200,000 hazardous substances cleanup grant to address the Minehaha Lanes site at 955 Seminary Road, plus a $200,000 hazardous substances assessment grant and a $200,000 grant to conduct petroleum assessments at more than 10 properties in the Phalen, Great Northern and Rice Street corridors. In addition, the Port Authority will receive a $1 million revolving loan fund grant to support cleanup activities in those three areas.

Applicants selected to receive brownfields general program funds are:

St. Paul, $1 million grant to assess hazardous substances and petroleum contamination at more than 30 properties, primarily along the Transit Opportunity Zone from Rice Street to the western border of the city.

St. Paul Housing and Redevelopment Authority (2), a $200,000 hazardous substances assessment grant to conduct at least 13 site assessments, and a $100,000 grant to conduct at least six assessments at properties with potential petroleum contamination.

The grants will help to assess, clean up 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 http://www.recovery.gov.

More information about brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund pilots and grants and other brownfields activities under the Recovery Act: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/.

Additional information on the EPA Region 5 brownfields recipients and their projects is available at http://www.epa.gov/r5brownfields/.

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