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EPA Awards over $1 Million to Cleanup and Revitalize Pacific Northwest Communities

Release Date: 04/19/2010
Contact Information: Susan Morales, Brownfield Grants Program, (206) 553-7299, morales.susan@epa.gov, Tony Brown, EPA Public Affairs, (206) 553-1203, brown.anthony@epa.gov

Neighborhoods to gain health, environmental and economic benefits

(SEATTLE – April 19, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it has selected nearly $80 million in brownfields grants to communities in 40 states and four tribes. In the Pacific Northwest, brownfields grants totaling over $1 million have been selected for King County, Washington State, the Swinomish Indian Tribe, and Moscow, Idaho.

King County, Washington

King County was selected to receive two brownfields assessment grants totaling $400,000. The funds will be used to conduct four environmental site assessments throughout the county, with a focus on the unincorporated White Center-Boulevard Park area. Grant funds also will be used to conduct cleanup planning and community outreach activities. Many sites are located near residential areas, posing risk to residents from exposure to contamination. In the White Center-Boulevard Park area, 47 percent of residents are minorities, making the target area one of the most diverse in the county. The area has struggled to attract economic development, and brownfields present environmental and financial barriers to property reuse. Brownfield assessments are an important first step toward site cleanup and reuse, and are expected to catalyze community redevelopment.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Washington

EPA has selected the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community for a $170,213 brownfields cleanup grant. Hazardous substances grant funds will be used to cleanup the Lime Storage site at 12939 Casino Drive, Anacortes, Washington. The site was contaminated with heavy metals, dioxins, and creosote during several decades of use as an agricultural chemical storage and processing site. Grant funds will be used to excavate and remove contaminated soil, chemical debris, and creosote-treated wood pilings. The Swinomish Tribal Community has high poverty and unemployment rates. The two main sources of income for the tribe are the Northern Lights Casino and the Chevron Station, which are adjacent to the cleanup site. The location is highly desirable for commercial development. When the target site is cleaned up, the community plans to redevelop it as part of a commercial complex that could include a hotel, stores, and a recreational pier.

Moscow, Idaho

The City of Moscow, Idaho was selected to receive a brownfields assessment grant totaling $475,000. The funds will focus on five sites along an abandoned railroad corridor with previous light and heavy agricultural operations, including hazardous chemical storage, lumber and grain mills, and petroleum distribution facilities. The area includes the Legacy Crossing Urban Renewal District, where most of the property is blighted and underutilized. Assessment of brownfields is expected to help the city meet the goals of its economic plan, which focuses on redevelopment of the railroad corridor and improvements to the downtown business district.

EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities, and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely cleanup, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A brownfield site is real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites. Under this law, EPA provides financial assistance to eligible applicants through four competitive grant programs: assessment grants, revolving loan fund grants, cleanup grants, and job training grants. Additionally, funding support is provided to state and tribal response programs through a separate mechanism.

For additional information about the Brownfields Grants; visit EPA HQ’s national news release: http://go.usa.gov/iXc

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