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Release Date: 5/6/1998
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

     (San Francisco) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that it has selected the Tohono O'odham Nation near Tucson, Ariz. to participate in a pilot redevelopment project at former industrial sites known as brownfields. The Nation is one of 36 cities and municipalities  nationwide that were selected today as brownfields pilot projects.
     "Our new partnership with the Tohono O'odham Nation will bring together people who will work to clean up tribal lands and help create new, vital areas," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's regional administrator. "Environmental cleanup can bring life and strength to a community through jobs and create a vision for the community's future. We look forward to working with the Tohono O'odham Nation to achieve that vision."

      The Tohono O'odham Nation will receive a $200,000 grant over a two-year period. Community involvement will be the focus of a project that will feature an assessment of the contamination at the Minerec Mining Chemical Co. site and preparation of cleanup plans for the site. The Minerec property, located in the Nation's San Xavier District Industrial Park, is suspected to be contaminated from past manufacturing processes and operations. The goal of the cleanup is to protect the environment and health of the industrial park workers and nearby residents. The San Xavier District, one of 11 Nation districts, is the home of 1,400 residents and the San Xavier Mission.

     In Region 9, U.S. EPA currently has existing brownfields pilot projects in Sacramento, Stockton, Emeryville, Richmond, San Francisco, Oakland, the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Tucson, Santa Barbara, Phoenix, Pomona, San Diego, and East Palo Alto. U.S. EPA is also providing assistance to the city of Los Angeles for brownfields redevelopment. With the 36 new projects, there are now 157 brownfields pilot projects nationwide.

     The brownfields initiative was launched to empower states, local governments, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together to assess, clean up, and sustainably reuse former industrial and commercial properties. The initiative also addresses the concerns of prospective developers and lenders concerned about inheriting cleanup liability for property that is contaminated or perceived to be contaminated.

     Information on the new brownfields pilot grant awards and the can be obtained from the U.S. EPA's brownfields home page on the Internet at: .

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