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David Sternberg, (215) 814- 5548
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission has been selected to receive a $200,000 brownfields assessment grant. The funds will be used to assess contaminated sites in Brooke and Hancock counties of West Virginia for cleanup, rejuvenation and redevelopment.
“Restoring brownfields to productive use brings enormous benefits to local communities. Experience has shown that every dollar of federal money spent on brownfields leverages about two-and-a-half dollars in private investment, and every acre of brownfields that is restored saves more than 4.5 acres of green space,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator for the mid-Atlantic region.
The funds are being made available under the brownfields legislation signed into law by President Bush on January 11, 2002 in Conshohocken, Pa. The Brownfields Revitalization Act, authorizes up to $250 million in funds annually for brownfields grants, including up to $50 million for the assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites. Brownfields are abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
The assessment grants are used to inventory, characterize and conduct planning relating to one or more brownfield sites or as part of a community- wide effort. The 2002 law expanded the definition of what’s considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on sites contaminated with petroleum, as well as lands scarred by mining. Since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 436 assessment grants totaling over $120 million.
The brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America's 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Redevelopment approaches have included the conversion of industrial waterfronts to river-front parks, landfills to golf courses, and rail corridors to recreational trails.
Currently, more than 44 different brownfields-to-greenspace projects (such as parks, trails and nature preserves) are in various stages of completion. The brownfields program provides funding incentives, feasibility tools, and individual grants up to $1,000,000 to help States, tribes, communities and other organizations prevent, assess, safely clean up, and reuse Brownfields. EPA's brownfields assistance has leveraged more than $4.6 billion in private investment, helped create more than 20,000 jobs and resulted in the assessment of more than 4,000 properties. For more information, go to : http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/.