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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, City of Aurora awarded $2.8 million in Recovery Act grants for contaminated land clean up and local job creation

Release Date: 08/04/2009
Contact Information: Rich Mylott, USEPA, 303-312-6654 Dan Scheppers, CDPHE, 303-692-3398 Moira Dungan, City of Aurora, 303-739-7128

(Denver, Colo. – August 4, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the City of Aurora to receive $2.8 million in Recovery Act funding that will help protect human health and the environment in communities throughout Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the City of Aurora will receive $1.35 million and $1.45 million respectively. The money will provide loans and subgrants to help carry out cleanup activities and redevelopment projects, and will create jobs for people living near contaminated sites known as “brownfields.” These grants, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will help turn rundown eyesores into revitalized, productive properties.

"These Recovery Act funds will revitalize properties that have fallen to contamination and disuse in communities across Colorado," said Carol Rushin, Acting Regional Administrator in EPA's Denver office. "These resources will jumpstart job creation and create new business opportunities and amenities that strengthen local economies for years to come."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will use $1.35 million to provide cleanup grants that encourage the redevelopment of nearly a dozen properties throughout the state. The completion of these projects will help create temporary construction jobs and permanent employment opportunities associated with redeveloped sites.

The City of Aurora will use $1.45 million to advance cleanup and redevelopment projects in the urban renewal area surrounding the Fitzsimons medical and technology campus and in other redevelopment target areas. City planning staff have identified several other potential Brownfield sites which may be eligible for funds.

EPA chose to make this selection on the basis that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the City of Aurora have previously demonstrated their ability to assist their community through effective brownfields redevelopment loans. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide subgrants or low or no-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 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law) was passed. The Brownfields 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.

The Brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the Brownfields program, revolving loan fund grant recipients have executed 146 loans and awarded 41 subgrants to support brownfields cleanup totaling more than $76.8 million. The loan funds have leveraged more than $1.8 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and enabled the leveraging of 3,285 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at Recovery.gov.

More information on brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund pilots and grants and other EPA Brownfields activities under the Recovery Act: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm