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EPA: $750,000 in Grants for Contaminated Land Cleanup, Economic Development in CNMI

Release Date: 05/11/2009
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, 808-541-2711, higuchi.dean@epa.gov

National grant amount bolstered by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds

(05/11/09) HONOLULU – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced today the availability of an estimated $111.9 million in grants bolstered by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 to help communities clean up sites known as Brownfields, which may be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants. Communities in 46 states, four tribes, and two U.S. Territories will share in these grants to help revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, turning them from problem properties to productive business and community institutions. The grants include $37.3 million from the Recovery Act and $74.6 million from the EPA Brownfields general program funding.

“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.”

"Recovery Act and brownfields program funds are helping clean up distressed properties so they can be productively reused for community benefit,” said Laura Yoshii, acting Regional Administrator for the U.S. EPA in the Pacific Southwest. “By revitalizing and restoring neighborhoods nationwide, the EPA continues to put both people and property back to work – creating a better environment and brighter future for the next generation of Americans."

EPA has selected the Northern Mariana Islands Department of Public Lands for brownfields assessment grants totaling $750,000. Community-wide grant funds of $550,000 will be used to perform a total of 11 environmental site assessments. In addition, grant funds of $200,000 will be used to perform 16 environmental site assessments. The grant funds also will be used to conduct health monitoring of sensitive populations and support community involvement activities.

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 on brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund pilots and grants and other brownfields activities under the Recovery Act: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm.

Additional information on the EPA Region 9 brownfields recipients and their projects is available at http://cfpub.epa.gov/bf_factsheets/index.cfm
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