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EPA announces grants to help communities clean up, revitalize abandoned properties

Release Date: 11/5/2002
Contact Information:
EPA 303/312-6813,

Release Date: 11/5/2002
Contact Information:
EPA 303/312-6803,

Release Date: 11/5/2002
Contact Information:
EPA toll free 800/227-8917

      Expanded Brownfields Funding Now Welcomes Petroleum and Mining Sites

DENVER B The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that competitive grants ranging from $200,000 to $1 million are available to communities interested in addressing underused or abandoned properties, otherwise known as brownfields.

The Brownfields grants can be used for site assessments, cleanup and revolving loan funds and are expected to total $100 million across the nation. The grants are a result of new Brownfields legislation passed last January that calls for doubling EPA=s Brownfields Revitalization budget during fiscal year 2003.

The new legislation allows EPA to award grants for activities at petroleum- contaminated sites such as gas stations with leaking or abandoned underground storage tanks. It also opens up mining properties to brownfields funding for the first time.

AThis new funding presents an especially good opportunity for communities in the Rocky Mountain West,@ said Max Dodson, Assistant Regional Administrator with EPA=s Region 8. AAs home to more than 50,000 abandoned mines, the new legislation will help our region address one of its highest priorities.@

Brownfields are properties previously used for industrial, manufacturing, mining or other commercial uses that have been underused or abandoned due to suspicion of hazardous substance contamination. Including hardrock mining sites, EPA estimates that there are more than one million brownfields in the United States.

The Brownfields law expands upon an existing program that has contributed more than $280 million in grants to spur assessment, cleanup, redevelopment and job training at brownfields sites. To date, EPA=s Brownfields program has leveraged more than $4 billion in public and private investments that have turned abandoned industrial properties into thriving economic centers, useful recreation areas and beneficial open spaces.

In addition, the new legislation:
$ broadens the entities eligible for funding for cleanup grants to include nonprofit organizations, including universities and other nonprofit educational institutions;
$ limits the liability of certain adjoining property owners and prospective purchasers of brownfield properties, and clarifies innocent landowner defenses to encourage property revitalization and reuse; and
$ provides additional funding to enhance state and tribal response programs.

Communities can use the Brownfields grants to inventory, characterize, assess, cleanup and conduct planning and community involvement related to brownfield sites.

The initial deadline for proposals for the National Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants is December 16th. Eligible applicants include local governments, regional councils, redevelopment agencies chartered by the state and federally-recognized tribes.

For more information about the grant opportunities, please visit EPA=s web site, www.epa.gov/region8/brownfields or call 1-800-227-8917.