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EPA Announces $800,000 In Brownfields Grants For West Virginia

Release Date: 04/21/2010
Contact Information: Roy Seneca seneca.roy@epa.gov (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (April 21, 2010) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $800,000 in brownfields grants to help assess and clean up abandoned industrial properties in West Virginia.

"Brownfields initiatives demonstrate how environmental protection and economic development work hand-in-hand," said Shawn M. Garvin, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. "Along with generating jobs, these grants will help West Virginia communities convert vacant industrial properties into assets for the community, the environment, and the economy."

The West Virginia grants include:

    $200,000 to the Fayette County Commission to assess and prioritize brownfields properties throughout Fayette County, an area that has a seen a steep decline in industrial activity related to coal mining, hardwood timber harvesting and processing, and rail transportation. To date, there are an estimated 400 brownfields properties identified by the county as needing attention.
    $200,000 to the city of Nitro to assess and update the city’s brownfields sites. Downsizing of the chemical industry has led to significant decline in population, increased unemployment and abandoned industrial properties. To date, 54 underused and vacant brownfields sites have been identified in Nitro. Brownfield assessments will provide the city with a more thorough inventory of contaminated sites that have potential for reuse as small-scale commercial properties, greenspace, and recreational facilities.
    $200,000 to the city of Parkersburg to assess and prioritize brownfields properties in Parkersburg, especially in the downtown area where plant closings have left abandoned properties and contributed to increased unemployment. The brownfields assessments are expected to help facilitate cleanups and create economic opportunities for the city.
    $200,000 to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to assess properties along the historic U.S. Route 60 Midland Trail, a national scenic byway located along a 119-mile trail in the Appalachian Mountains. Since the early 1900s, the economies of the 29 towns and rural communities along the trail relied on the bituminous coal, timber, and petrochemical industries. Major job losses in these industries and construction of Interstate 64, which shifted travelers away from the trail, have caused serious economic problems. The area’s population has declined, and the scenic trail has been left with many closed and abandoned businesses, including gas stations. Brownfields assessments will clarify conditions at the sites and help facilitate reuse of the sites for historical interpretive stops along the trail and attract tourism and tourism-related jobs to the area. The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of program in 1995, EPA has awarded 1,702 assessment grants totaling over $401 million, 262 revolving loan fund grants totaling over $256.7 million, and 655 cleanup grants totaling $129.4 million.

As of March 2010, EPA’s brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $14 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding and 61,277 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment. Assessments have been performed on 15,135 properties and 458 properties have been cleaned up.

Additional information on the EPA brownfields program is available at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/ and additional information on grant recipients is available at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/grant_info/index.htm .