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$70 Million in Grants Brings Blighted Property Back to Life

Release Date: 05/12/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - May 12, 2006) Communities in 44 states and two territories, as well as three tribes will share $69.9 million in grants to help transform community eyesores into community gems. The grants, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, promote the redevelopment of abandoned and contaminated or potentially contaminated waste sites. In all, 209 applicants were selected to receive 292 grants for assessment or cleanup of properties.

"Building on decades of environmental growth and economic gains, President Bush and EPA continue to put both people and property back to work," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "By turning problem properties back into community assets, EPA is handing down better health and a brighter future to the next generation of Americans."

The brownfields program encourages turning America's estimated 450,000 problem properties to productive community use. Since the beginning of the brownfields program, EPA has awarded 883 assessment grants totaling $225.4 million, 202 revolving loan fund grants totaling $186.7 million, and 238 cleanup grants totaling $42.7 million.

In addition to industrial and commercial redevelopment, brownfields approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, rail corridors to recreational trails, and gas stations to housing. EPA's brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $8.2 billion in private investment, helped create 37,525 jobs and resulted in the assessment of 8,374 properties and the cleanup of 93 properties.

The $69.9 million in grants include:
184 grants totaling $36.6 million for conducting site assessment and planning for eventual cleanup at one or more brownfields sites or as part of a community-wide effort.
96 grants totaling $18.3 million for cleanup activities at brownfields sites.

12 grants totaling $15 million to capitalize a revolving loan fund and provide subgrants for cleanup activities at brownfields sites. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low interest loans for brownfields cleanups.

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 January 2002, President Bush signed the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

Before/after photos of sample brownfields projects are available upon request.

Information on the grant recipients: epa.gov/brownfields/archive/pilot_arch.htm

Information on the Brownfields program: epa.gov/brownfields