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Montana communities receive more than $1.5 million for property cleanup and redevelopment

Brownfields grants to advance local revitalization efforts in Billings, Pablo, Poplar, Lewistown and other communities

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Richard Mylott (

DENVER – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected six Montana organizations to receive more than $1.5 million in Brownfields grants to assess, cleanup and redevelop properties that have been identified by local interests as priorities for productive reuse.

Six organizations in Montana have been selected to receive grants, including the Bear Paw Development Corporation of Northern Montana; the Big Sky Development Authority (Billings); Snowy Mountain Development Corporation, Central Montana; the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes; the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation; and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

These Montana grant recipients are among 172 organizations across the country to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization efforts. A total of approximately $56.8 million will fund selected recipients for brownfield site assessments and clean up, as initial steps towards redeveloping vacant and unused properties; transforming them to productive reuse which will benefit the community and the local economy.

Montana grantees and projects include:

  • Bear Paw Development Corporation of Northern Montana: $300,000

  • Big Sky Development Authority (Billings): $300,000

  • Snowy Mountain Development Corporation, Central Montana: $300,000

  • The Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes: $200,000

  • The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation: $160,675

  • The Northern Cheyenne Tribe: $300,000

“EPA is committed to working with communities to redevelop Brownfields sites which have plagued their neighborhoods. EPA’s Assessment and Cleanup grants target communities that are economically disadvantaged and include places where environmental cleanup and new jobs are most needed," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. "These grants leverage considerable infrastructure and other investments, improving local economies and creating an environment where jobs can grow. I am very pleased the President’s budget recognizes the importance of these grants by providing continued funding for this important program.”

Approximately $17.5 million of the assessment and cleanup funding announced today will benefit small and rural communities with populations less than 10,000.  Approximately $25 million will go to communities who are receiving assessment and cleanup funding for the first time.  Selected recipients will each receive approximately $200,000 - $600,000 in funding to work on individual sites or several sites within their community. These funds will provide communities with resources necessary to determine the extent of site contamination, remove environmental uncertainties and clean up contaminated properties where needed. Brownfields assessment and cleanup activities are strides closer to realizing a sites’ full potential, while protecting public health and the environment.

For example, for decades, suspected contamination from abandoned gas stations deterred potential investors from the vacant properties in Tacoma Washington’s Hilltop neighborhood. But a local health care clinic overcame that reluctance to assess and redevelop a local brownfield property. The new Hilltop Regional Health Center in Tacoma is one of the first in the nation to co-locate medical residency and nursing, dental and pharmacy internship programs in one facility, making a cross-disciplinary training environment possible.

Before, during and after photos of the Hilltop Regional Health Center, located in Tacoma, Wash., on a former vacant brownfield property.

Addressing and cleaning up sites, like those in the Hilltop neighborhood, across the nation will ultimately boost local economies and leverage redevelopment jobs while protecting public health and the environment. Brownfield sites are community assets because of their locations and associated infrastructure advantages. Studies have shown that residential property values near brownfields sites that are cleaned up increased between 5 and 15.2%. The study also determined that brownfield cleanup can increase overall property values within a 1.24 mile radius. A study analyzing data near 48 brownfield sites shows that an estimated $29 to $97 million in additional tax revenue was generated for local governments in a single year after cleanup. This is 2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million the EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfields.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in America.  As of May 2017, more than 124,759 jobs and $24 billion of public and private funding has been leveraged as a result of assessment grants and other EPA Brownfields grants. On average, $16.11 was leveraged for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 8.5 jobs leveraged per $100,000 of EPA brownfields funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements. 

List of the FY 2017 Applicants Selected for Funding:

More on EPA’s brownfields program:

More on successful Brownfields stories: