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EnviroBytes, a Summary of Issues and Events for Week Ending May 8, 2009

EPA ANNOUNCES $111.9 MILLION IN BROWNFIELDS GRANTS NATIONWIDE; THE FIVE REGION 3 STATES RECEIVE A TOTAL OF MORE THAN $6 MILLION

Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced the availability of about $111.9 million in Brownfields grants nationwide (including $37.3 million from the Recovery Act and $74.6 million from the EPA Brownfields general program) to help communities clean up former commercial and industrial Brownfields sites which may be contaminated by hazardous chemicals or pollutants and need redevelopment. Mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs have been added to the list.  The funds will be awarded to eligible applicants through job training, assessment, revolving loan fund, and cleanup grants.  For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm   

DELAWARE
EPA announced that the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental (DNREC)  Control will receive a $200,000 EPA general Brownfields grant to help clean up wetlands in South Wilmington. This grant will be used to assess four to six parcels of land polluted from wastes disposed by nearby industries. The assessment by DNREC will identify contaminated areas and address related environmental and human health concerns. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm  

MARYLAND
In Maryland, $400,000 will go to the Baltimore Development Corp. to assess 1,000 potential Brownfields sites that occupy more than 2,400 acres of former industrial properties in the city. The assessments will help the corporation identify contaminated areas and address related environmental and human health concerns. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm   

PENNSYLVANIA
In Pennsylvania, 10 communities will share an estimated $4 million to help assess, clean up and revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, returning them into productive community use. The grants, to be awarded by EPA include $2.1 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and $1.9 million from the EPA Brownfields general program funding.  For a list of the 10 Pennsylvania-area applicants selected to receive Recovery and general funds, go to: List of Brownfields Grants funded with regular competition funds (PDF) (13 pp, 134K about PDF) and List of Brownfields Grants funded by the Recovery Act (PDF) (11 pp, 93K about PDF)

VIRGINIA
Two communities in Virginia will share an estimated $600,000 to help assess, clean up and revitalize former industrial and commercial sites, and return them to productive reuse. The town of Pulaski will receive a $200,000 Brownfields assessment grant from Recovery Act funds to rehabilitate a 60 acres of abandoned and deteriorated sites at an old manufacturing site noted for heavy industry.  The city of Hampton will receive $400,000 from the Brownfields general program to revitalize a city where downsizing and closure of major local employers including the military have resulted in increased unemployment. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm  

WEST VIRGINIA
Four West Virginia communities will share an estimated $1 million EPA Brownfields grants to help assess, clean up and revitalize former industrial and commercial sites. Recipients for Recovery Act funds are the city of Moundsville ($200,000) to clean up contamination at the Fostoria Glass Plant site; and the Preston County Economic Development Authority ($200,000) to help assess mining/timber operation acid mine drainage impacted properties suffering from erosion. Brownfields general program fund recipients are the Brooke-Hancock Regional Planning and Development Council ($400,000) to assess Brownfield properties; and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection ($200,000) to assess Ritchie County Brownfields properties. For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/eparecovery/index.htm   To learn about Brownfield assessment grants, go to http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/assessment_grants.htm

MAY IS ASTHMA AWARENESS MONTH

EPA initiated Asthma Awareness Month to educate the public about air pollutants that trigger asthma, and methods to reduce the incidence and severity of asthma attacks caused by these pollutants.  Some of the most common indoor asthma ‘triggers’ are secondhand smoke, mold, dust mites and cockroaches, household pets, and combustion byproducts. For tips to help plan an asthma education event, go to: Download the Asthma Awareness Month Event Planning Kit.

EPA PLANS TO INCREASE NATIONAL OUTPUT OF RENEWABLE FUELS

EPA is proposing a plan (The Renewable Fuel Standard) that when fully phased in by 2022 will increase the volume of renewable fuel required to be blended into gasoline, and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil by more than 297 million barrels a year and greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 160 million tons a year.  The 60-day comment period on this proposal will begin upon publication in the Federal Register. During this period EPA will hold a workshop to assure full public understanding of the proposed plan.  For more information on the Energy Independence and Security Act, go to http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/index.htm

EPA'S TOOLS FOR SCHOOLS PROGRAM WELCOMES THE KENNETT CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL DISTRICT

The Kennett Consolidated School District located in Chester County, Pa. has joined the EPA’s Indoor Tools for Schools (TfS) program to achieve clean indoor air in its buildings.  The purpose of TfS is to improve the indoor air quality of older school buildings to protect student health. Under the program, a TfS kit (available free to any school district or school) allows EPA specialists to train school staff to identify and resolve potential pollutant sources and activities impacting the indoor environment through presentations, outreach, assessments and technical assistance.  For information on EPA’s indoor air quality programs, go to http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ia-intro.html

EPA WORKSHOP IN VIRGINIA PROMOTES GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

Green infrastructure (GI) is an approach to manage wet weather by capturing and reusing precipitation near where it falls. Rain gardens, trees along commercial corridor streets, wildlife refuges and large conservation easements, are examples used to control stormwater runoff, combined sewer overflows, nonpoint source pollution and protect water resources. EPA Region 3 and EPA Headquarters hosted a one-day workshop on the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) regulations for Virginia municipal officials focused on planning, designing, and installing GI technologies, changing land use codes and ordinances to incorporate GI, as well as the financial, social, and environmental benefits of green infrastructure. Please see Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure.

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