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EPA Administrator Announces $76 Million to Clean Up Contaminated Sites and Revitalize Communities

EPA brownfields investments protect health and environment, create jobs and promote economic re-development nationwide

LANSING - Today in Lansing, Michigan, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced more than $76 million in new investments across the country that will redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and help create jobs while protecting public health. EPA's brownfields grants are used to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties like deserted gas stations or closed smelters. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. These investments help leverage redevelopment, promote economic growth and lead to job creation. Since its inception, EPA's brownfields investments have leveraged more than $16.3 billion in cleanup and redevelopment funding from a variety of public and private sources and have resulted in approximately 70,000 jobs. Brownfields grants also target under-served and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods - places where environmental cleanups and new jobs are most needed. 

"Revitalizing our communities is vital to our health and the health of our local economies," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "The grants we're awarding to communities across America will support projects that will help create thousands of jobs and make our communities cleaner, healthier and more prosperous places to raise a family and start a business. They're part of our overall effort to clean up communities and put our nation on the path to a sustainable future."

Administrator Jackson announced that seven communities in Michigan this year will receive a total of $2.9 million. Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing and other federal, state and local officials joined Administrator Jackson at the event in Lansing.

"For a struggling auto community at the epicenter of the national economic crisis, we depend on the power of brownfields funding to energize Lansing's local economy and create jobs," said Mayor Virg Bernero. "With the help of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who played a key role in an extraordinary public-private partnership, we have transformed an old, abandoned power plant on our downtown riverfront into a new engine of prosperity and job growth for Michigan. More than 1,500 people spent 800,000 work-hours to complete this massive project, and another thousand permanent jobs will be retained and created in Lansing over the next few years. With the additional funds announced today, we will be able to replicate this success and put even more of our citizens back to work."

EPA issued 214 grants through the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grants programs that will go to 40 states and three tribes across the country.

Highlights of the projects planned by grant recipients include:

·      The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will use cleanup grant funding to transform a former contaminated property into a modern business park with residential and retail amenities, creating more than 800 jobs.

·      Springfield, Missouri will use cleanup grant funding to transform a vacant, contaminated former rail yard into a natural wetland open space with greenway trails. This project will leverage more than $6 million in cleanup and redevelopment funding.

·      Nassau County, N.Y. will use funds to cleanup waterfront property and pave the way for a new hotel complex, affordable housing units, a waterfront park, restaurant and retail space, and the county's first commuter ferry. The redevelopment will result in the creation of more than 7,700 new jobs.

·      The Illinois EPA will issue a loan to the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), a Chicago Hispanic community-based organization that builds and operates charter schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods. UNO plans to remediate a former industrial property and build an energy efficient elementary school for 575 students.

In 2002, the brownfields law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands, sites contaminated by petroleum, or sites contaminated as a result of manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs (e.g. meth labs).

More information on the FY2011 grant recipients by state: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/pilot_grants.htm

More information on EPA's brownfields program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/

More information on brownfields success stories: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/success/index.htm

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