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EPA Awards Brownfields Redevelopment Money to Four Vermont Recipients; Part of $73 Million Funded Nationwide

Release Date: 06/25/2003
Contact Information: Alice Kaufman, EPA Community Involvement Office, 617-918-1064

BOSTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it is awarding $1 million to four recipients in Vermont – the Windham, Rutland, Central and Northwest regional planning commissions – to help clean and redevelop abandoned, contaminated parcels known as Brownfields. The funding is among $73 million of Brownfields grants announced last week by EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, including $11.2 million to New England alone.

“These grants will help spur the cleanup of abandoned, contaminated parcels all across New England,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England Office. “Vermont has been a leader in protecting its natural resources and in employing smart growth principles for its future. We are pleased to be partnering once again.”

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas said that Brownfields redevelopment is one of his administration's most important initiatives. "We appreciate the assistance of our partners at EPA to help our Regional Planning Commissions with some of the associated costs," Douglas said. "It is important that we cleanup these sites to improve the environment, protect our groundwater, help reduce sprawl by utilizing existing structures to their best advantage in our continuing economic development efforts."

The funding will allow the planning commissions to establish brownfields steering committees, inventory and identify properties for assessment and perform assessment activities

The funding for these and other projects is a direct result of Brownfields legislation signed by President Bush last year. In addition to making more sites eligible for cleanup, including petroleum contaminated sites, the legislation greatly increased funding to assist nonprofit groups, municipalities, regional agencies and states in various tasks associated with restoring and revitalizing Brownfields properties, of which there are thousands across New England. The law authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for Brownfield grants, including up to $50 million for assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites.

Under the EPA’s Brownfields Program, communities and other entities receive funding to assess contamination at abandoned and vacant sites and to estimate the costs of cleaning up sites for redevelopment. Organizations can also receive funding for cleanup grants and to establish revolving loan programs that provide low interest loans for cleanups.

Since 1995, EPA has provided more than $67 million of Brownfields assistance – for grants, site evaluations, job training and cleanup loan programs – to dozens of communities and agencies around New England, including more than $3.3 million to Vermont. The assistance has led to 630 site assessments, more than 100 cleanups and thousands of new jobs across the region.

Nationwide, Brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $4.6 billion in private investment, helped create more than 20,000 jobs and has resulted in the assessment of more than 4,000 properties. EPA estimates that every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace and every greenspace created, on average, has doubled the value of surrounding properties.

Brownfields funds were given to the following grantees:

Northwest Regional Planning Commission, $400,000

This award will allow the planning commission to establish a brownfields steering committee, inventory and identify properties for assessment, and perform assessment activities at both hazardous waste and petroleum contaminated sites

Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, $200,000

The funding will allow the planning commission to establish a brownfields steering committee, inventory and identify properties for assessment, and perform assessment activities

Windham Regional Planning Commission, $200,000

The funding will allow the planning commission to perform assessment activities along the Brattleboro waterfront as well as at other to-be-determined locations.

Rutland Regional Planning Commission, $200,000

The funding will allow the planning commission to establish a brownfields steering committee, inventory and identify properties for assessment, and perform assessment activities.

For more information, visit the following EPA Web sites:

Brownfields: www.epa.gov/NE/brownfields

Smart Growth: www.epa.gov/NE/ra/sprawl