EPA designates $64.6 million for Brownfields nationwide
Today, June 5, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing $3.9
million for nine Brownfields grants in Pennsylvania. These are nine of the 149 communities selected to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through EPA’s Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in opportunity zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.
“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”
One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.
“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in Pennsylvania today as he announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 151 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.”
The nine Brownfields projects in Pennsylvania include:
The Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority will receive will receive $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments, prepare cleanup plans, and conduct community meetings. Grant funds also will be used to inventory and prioritize sites and conduct additional community involvement activities. Assessment activities will focus on the Pennsylvania State Hospital in Susquehanna Township, the City of Harrisburg, and the Lykens School in the Borough of Lykens.
Earth Conservancy in Hanover Township, Luzerne County will receive $500,000 to clean up the Bliss Bank – Phase V site in Hanover Township. The 200-acre site formerly was used for anthracite mining operations and has been unused and abandoned since 1976. The site is mine-scarred land contaminated with sulfide minerals that produce acid mine drainage, which has damaged the Espy Run stream that used to flow through the site. Grant funds also will be used for community outreach activities.
The Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County in Meadville will receive $200,000 to conduct environmental site assessment of the Bessemer Site at 789 Bessemer Street in Meadville. The 11-acre site was a maintenance facility for the railroad and had a documented release of heating oil in 1979. Grant funds also will be used for cleanup and reuse planning activities, coordinating community planning meetings, and providing media outlet updates.
The Erie County Industrial Development Authority will receive $526,000 to conduct environmental site assessments and prepare cleanup plans. The assessments will target seven priority sites in Erie County. Grant funds also will be used to update a brownfields inventory, develop a GIS database and mapping materials, and conduct community outreach activities. Coalition partners are the Redevelopment Authority in the City of Corry and the Enterprise Development Center of Erie County Inc.
Lackawanna County will receive $600,000 to conduct up to 25 environmental site assessments and complete cleanup plans for at least 10 sites. Grant funds also will be used to identify new sites to be added to the existing site inventory and conduct community outreach activities. The target areas include the former industrial and manufacturing hubs of Scranton, Old Forge, and Carbondale and mine-scarred sites throughout the county. Coalition partners are the Redevelopment Authority of Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton.
The North Side Industrial Development Company in Allegheny County will receive $600,000 to conduct environmental site assessments and to develop reuse plans for three neighborhoods. The target area includes Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and other industrial river towns in the county. Coalition partners are the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, and the City of Duquesne.
The Penn-Northwest Development Corporation in Sharon and Farrell in Mercer County will receive $600,000 to conduct environmental site assessments. Grant funds will be used to conduct community outreach activities. Coalition partners are the Cities of Sharon and Farrell, which are the target areas for this grant.
The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority will receive $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments, to develop a GIS database inventory of brownfield sites, prepare at least six cleanup plans, and conduct community outreach activities.
The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Harrisburg will receive $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to conduct a brownfields inventory, conduct cleanup and reuse planning activities, and develop an area-wide plan for the Derry Street Transit-Oriented Development Area and Cameron Street Corridor, the target areas for this grant.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.
In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.
The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.
For a list of all the grants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
For the booklet “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites”: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf
For more on the Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields
More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org
Desire more specific assistance regarding brownfields, grants, PUC matters, or representation in project development, contact attorney Jeffrey A. Franklin at Prince Law Offices, P.C.