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As Anniversary of Recovery Act Nears, EPA-Funded Projects Yielding Cleaner Air, Water and Land Across New York State; EPA Regional Administrator, DEC Commissioner Visit Cleanup Project in Albany

Release Date: 02/12/2010
Contact Information: John Senn (212) 636-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) As the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act nears, projects funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are yielding cleaner air, water and land, and new green jobs across the country. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in New York State, where EPA’s Recovery Act funding has spurred cleanups of toxic waste sites and leaking petroleum storage tanks, cleaner water, and projects to reduce air pollution from diesel engines. EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today visited one such project, the cleanup of an abandoned gas station and repair shop in Albany, N.Y. The greatest potential hazard from a leaking underground storage tank is that the petroleum or other hazardous substances seep into the soil and contaminate ground water, the source of drinking water for nearly one-third of all Americans.

On Feb. 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, providing more than $565 million for environmental cleanups and upgrades across New York State. Recovery Act funding is paying for nearly $437 million in wastewater improvements, about $87 million for drinking water projects, well over $15 million in clean diesel projects, almost $15 million for Superfund cleanups, more than $9 million to address leaking underground storage tanks, and $2.5 million for brownfields assessments and cleanups.

“A year after President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, it’s clear that the environment, public health and the economy are benefiting from projects like the rehabilitation of the Courtney George site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “Because of cleanups like this one – and dozens of others across the state – New Yorkers will see the elimination of long-standing environmental hazards and a much-needed boost to the state’s economy.”

"New York's spill response program is among the most effective in the nation, with staff addressing thousands of spills a year in order to protect drinking water and other critical natural resources," Commissioner Grannis said. "The stimulus funding secured by President Barack Obama and our Congressional representatives, channeled through EPA will be a boost to investigating and cleaning up sites that may have otherwise remained vacant, contaminated parcels that hindered investment in local economies."

Regional Administrator Enck and Commissioner Grannis today visited the Courtney George site at 380 North Pearl Street in downtown Albany, an abandoned former gas station and auto repair shop at which leaking underground petroleum storage tanks led to soil and ground water contamination. A cleanup of the site is underway and is expected to be completed by September 2011. The total cost of the cleanup is estimated at $520,000. The Courtney George cleanup is one of 69 projects across New York receiving funding from EPA through the Recovery Act to address leaks from underground storage tanks. EPA gave New York more than $9 million to help fund underground storage tank cleanups.

When President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, he directed that it be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can visit http:/www.recovery.gov to see how every dollar is being invested.

For a Google Earth aerial view of the Courtney George site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region2/kml/courtney_george.kml (You must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the map. To download Google Earth, visit http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html).

More information about the Courtney George site and other leaking underground storage tank cleanups by the DEC can be found by accessing the remediation databases at http://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/derexternal/index.cfm?pageid=2.

For more about EPA's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, visit http://www.epa.gov/recovery/, and for information on the implementation in New York, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/eparecovery/.

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