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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Announces $1.22 Million to Assess and Clean Up Contaminated Sites, Promote Economic Redevelopment in Ark.

Part of $55.2 million in grants nationwide

Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

DALLAS – (May 23, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced two grants in Arkansas totaling $1.22 million to help assess and clean up contaminated sites. The Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup (ARC) grants go to communities that are underserved and economically disadvantaged, including neighborhoods where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed.

“These grants will help Arkansas communities spark redevelopment of abandoned or contaminated properties,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “It’s an important first step to getting these sites back into productive use for local economies.”

The Western Arkansas Planning and Redevelopment District received $400,000 to assess potentially contaminated sites in area communities. Pulaski County received $820,000 toward its revolving loan fund for cleanup activities. These grants are part of 218 new grant investments, totaling $55.2 million to 131 communities across the U.S.

EPA’s Brownfields program helps communities recycle vacant and abandoned properties for new, productive reuses. The investments provide communities with funding to assess, clean up and redevelop contaminated properties, boost local economies and leverage jobs while protecting public health and the environment. Brownfields ARC grants provide resources early on, which is critical for communities to leverage partnerships between neighborhoods, developers, and local governments.

About $14 million of the funding will go to applicants who are also EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning grant recipients and Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/Dept. of Transportation (DOT)/EPA partnership communities. Funding will help communities clean up and reuse brownfield sites to create community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, employment, education, social services, transportation options, infrastructure and commerce opportunities.

Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15 percent. Data also shows that brownfields clean ups can increase overall property values within a one-mile radius. Preliminary analysis of 48 brownfields sites shows that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million the EPA contributed to the cleanup of these brownfields.

This latest funding advances EPA’s broader commitment to making a visible difference in communities by focusing on coordinating federal investments to help environmentally overburdened, underserved, and economically distressed communities address local priorities. The Brownfields Program invests in communities where multiple federal agency partnerships are at work, aligning resources more efficiently. ARC grantees demonstrate a high level of preparedness to undertake specific projects, as they have firm commitments of leveraged funds to move projects forward. An impressive 70 percent of recipients have secured public and private resources which will directly align and further the efforts of proposed projects.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America. Since the inception of EPA’s Brownfields Program in 1995, investments have leveraged more than $20 billion from public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. This equates to an average of $17.79 leveraged per EPA brownfields dollar expended. These investments have resulted in approximately 108,924 jobs nationwide. EPA’s Brownfields Program empowers states, communities and other stakeholders to work together to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields sites.

List of the FY 2016 Applicants Selected for Funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-fy16-arc-grants-selected-funding

More on ARC grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

More on cleanups in Arkansas: https://www.epa.gov/ar/cleanups-arkansas

More on successful Brownfields stories: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-success-stories

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Activities in EPA Region 6: http://www2.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central

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