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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Announces $700,000 to Clean up Contaminated Brownfield Sites in Economically Disadvantaged Communities in California

Approximately $10.7 million awarded nationwide

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (calvino.maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $700,000 in supplemental funding to help transform communities by cleaning up contaminated brownfield properties in California. EPA will provide the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) awards to Humboldt County and California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to help communities carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects.

“Funding for brownfields projects will allow communities to revitalize properties that have been sitting idle far too long,” said Enrique Manzanilla, EPA’s Superfund Division Director for the Pacific Southwest. “These projects will help communities continue to create jobs while improving people’s health and the environment.”

RLF grants help to transform neighborhoods by stimulating the economies of distressed communities and contributing to much-needed community projects and economic development. For example, DTSC anticipates funding cleanups to enable the development of community parks in disadvantaged communities in Emeryville and in the Los Angeles area. The City of Emeryville is participating in a public/private partnership to revitalize the Emeryville Public Market into the nation’s first ‘LEED Platinum for Neighborhood Development’ community. The Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust proposes to clean up lead-impacted soil from the Holmes Avenue Community Garden property, located in Willowbrook, Calif.

Humboldt County plans to use RLF funds to expand ongoing lead abatement work in low income homes as part of a revitalization effort in a disadvantaged community. EPA places a high priority on addressing the environmental health risks of lead poisoning, which disproportionately affect children and minority communities. Health problems from exposure to lead can include profound developmental and neurological impairment in children. The funding may also be used to clean up an abandoned rail yard.

Nationally, EPA will award approximately $10.7 million to 33 successful RLF grantees, helping more than 40 communities carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects. RLFs supply funding for loans and sub-grants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. The funding to each grantee ranges from about $200,000 to $500,000. To date, DTSC and Humboldt County have provided 6 loans and more than 20 sub-grants.

The funds help maintain momentum so that more cleanups can be completed. These funds are provided to communities who have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. Collectively, these communities have already leveraged more than $600 million in cleanup and redevelopment investments.

There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the U.S. Since the inception of EPA’s Brownfields program in 1995, cumulative investments have leveraged nearly $21 billion from a variety of public and private sources for cleanup and redevelopment activities. These investments have resulted in nearly 109,000 jobs nationwide. A recent study shows that residential property values increased 5-15 percent near brownfield sites when cleanups were completed. Preliminary analysis of 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 two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those sites.

More information on Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grantees: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-07/documents/fy16_rlf_supplemental_funding_list.pdf

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

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