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(L-R) Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response,  Ed Jennings, Jr., Southeast Regional Administrator U.S.  Housing and Urban Development, Heather McTeer Toney, and Mustafa Ali, Senior Advisor to the Administrator on Environmental Justice, stand with the Honorable James Clyburn after presenting the Congressman with the Environmental Justice Pioneer Award.

EPA, HUD Honor Congressman James Clyburn

EPA and HUD acknowledged the pioneering efforts of Congressman James Clyburn in championing environmental justice in South Carolina at a ceremony on the campus of Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The ceremony was the capstone event in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Environmental Justice Executive Order.  Activities leading up to the ceremony included a tour of the Awkright and Forest Park neighborhoods and a Project Update Forum.  EPA officials Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator Southeast Region, and representatives from the business communities shared their involvement and experience with the ReGenesis Partnership with attendees.

The ReGenesis Environmental Justice Partnership was formed in 2000 to clean up contamination of hazardous waste sites, reduce cumulative pollution problems, and restore the vibrancy of the Awkright and Forest Park neighborhoods.

“Our mission for EPA is to protect human health and the environment, and that’s the people and communities of which we serve” said McTeer Toney. “The revitalization of this area was brought about by a collaborative effort of people coming together and making a decision that they must work to improve the quality of life in their community.”

The partnership has transformed the two neighborhoods over the last 15 years with the assistance of public and private sector entities.  Utilizing equitable development, over $250 million was leveraged for reinvestment and development opportunities benefiting the residents and businesses of the community.  Monies delivered to the area were used to establish the ReGenesis Community Health Care Center and fund the construction of the C.C. Woodson Community Center.

The ReGenesis Partnership honored Tim Fields, Senior Vice President of MDB, Inc., and Cynthia Peurifoy, EPA Region 4, for their respective roles in assisting the community.  Peurifoy received the inaugural South Carolina Community Grass Roots Advocacy for Environmental and Economic Justice Award.  The award will be given annually and bear the name of its inaugural recipient.

Mustafa Ali, Acting Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice, commended Congressman Clyburn for having played a significant leadership role in the field of environmental justice for over 20 years. “His pioneering work with members of the Congressional Black Caucus by convening the first Environmental Justice Braintrust in 1999 and The National Environmental Policy Commission (NEPC) have helped to enhance the understanding of the need to develop a comprehensive national environmental justice policy that fosters the protection of human health and the environment, and ensures environmental justice while promoting economic development,” said Ali. “His early efforts helped to lay the groundwork for successful community driven collaborative projects such as ReGenesis.”

Congressman Clyburn was presented with the Environmental Justice Pioneer Award for his leadership in bringing the plight of disenfranchised communities to the forefront of environmental decision-making. 

“When EJ and Civil Rights were not popular, Congressman Clyburn challenged the government to deliver its resources to the communities that needed them because of the history of disinvestment and decisions that led to these disproportionate impacts,” said Mathy Stanislaus.
Ed Jennings, Southeast Regional Administrator HUD, delivered the keynote address for the evening’s ceremony. 

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EPA Grants Help North Carolina Cities Rejuvenate

Local business, state, and city leaders listen intently as EPA Southeast Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney recognizes the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments and the cities of Wilson and Greenville, North Carolina as recipients of over $1,000,000 in EPA grants. (photo EPA)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator, Heather McTeer Toney joined Congressman G.K. Butterfield and other state and city leaders of North Carolina to recognize City partners Wilson and Greenville, NC and the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments as recipients of a $1,000,000 Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant and a $400,000 Brownfields community-wide assessment grant. The monies awarded will be used to conduct assessments and redevelop contaminated properties in the eastern part of the state.

“These funds will give communities and businesses a chance to return to economic development and sustainability to underserved and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout the assessment and cleanup of abandoned properties and industrial and commercial areas,” said McTeer Toney. “The investments will revitalize land use, boost local economies, make a visible difference in communities, and create jobs all while protecting public health and the environment.”

Each of the grant recipients have extensive histories revitalizing brownsfields with EPA funding. This is the fourth such award the City of Wilson and the City of Greenville have received. Separated by only 34 miles, the cities have demonstrated success redeveloping brownsfields.

Since receiving their first EPA grant in 2010, the City of Wilson has successfully redeveloped previously contaminated lands into viable commercial and residential spaces. Redevelopment of several other identified properties will continue with monies from the award. Plans include a new housing development, a neighborhood park for a low income community, and an Advanced Trade program facility through Wilson Community College.

The City of Greenville used the first EPA grant awarded them in 2008 to bolster the Center City – West Greenville Revitalization Plan initiated in 2006. The grant allowed the city to conduct assessments of properties for hazardous waste contamination in the historic and predominately African American community in West Greenville. Clean up grants were used to redevelop lands for mix-use developments and educational facilities. Through a partnership with the Eastern North Carolina Regional Science Center (Go-Science) the former 9,000 square foot Pugh service station was redeveloped into a first-class science learning facility for schools, children, and adults focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

EPA grant monies awarded to The Upper Coastal Plains Council of Governments will assist the multi-county organization in continuing its assessments of brownsfields in rural areas. In four years, the regional council has identified over 400 brownsfields sites. Since receiving an EPA grant in 2011, 21 environmental site assessment activities have been performed. The new award will enable the trio of participating counties to follow through on plans to conduct 20 Phase I Environmental Site Assessments, eight Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, and complete three cleanup plans.

Across the eight states that comprise EPA’s southeastern region (Region 4), over ten million dollars in EPA Brownfields funding has been awarded through 45 grants to twenty-six com.

 


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