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EPA Awards Two More Brownfields Pilot Grants in New York

Release Date: 07/15/1998
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(#98083) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today awarded two $200,000 grants to Ulster County and Utica in New York State to help launch local Brownfields pilot projects. These grants will be used to identify and assess contaminated sites for cleanup and redevelopment. Vice President Al Gore announced this and other national Brownfields pilot grants at a press conference held today in Washington, DC at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

The goal of the national Brownfields program is to restore industrial and commercial properties where actual or perceived environmental contamination has hindered redevelopment or expansion. The Brownfields grantz, which require extensive community involvement, empower local governments across the country to compile data and develop strategies for realizing this goal.

"Brownfields projects make environmental and economic sense," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Region 2 Administrator. "These projects help protect pristine areas in New York by encouraging redevelopment of areas that have already lost some of their environmental value. The success of the Brownfields program is proof positive that environmental health and economic strength are not mutually exclusive goals."

Ulster County, located in the Mid-Hudson Valley, directly north of the New York City metropolitan area, has many abandoned sites that contain uncertain levels and types of contamination. Due to the potential financial liabilities involved in redeveloping such sites, many remain underutilized. The demand for industrial properties in the area exceeds the supply in Ulster County, making these dormant sites badly needed.

The Brownfields grant will help Ulster County establish a Mid-Hudson Valley Brownfields Partnership, a public/private partnership that will provide technical assistance and information to owners and potential developers. Using the Brownfields grant, Ulster County will inventory brownfields, conduct site assessments, and create a regional model for Brownfields redevelopment. The county will also solicit local community involvement and identify additional sources of possible funding for the project.

Utica, New York is located along the Mohawk River and Erie Canal. During the 1800's and early 1900's the area had many paper and textile milling companies. In the mid-1900's, which began to support high tech manufacturing, and the textile and paper mills were closed and abandoned. Developers are unwilling to purchase these properties out of fear that they would be liable for cleaning up any remaining contamination.

Utica will use the EPA Brownfields grant to prepare the Foster Paper Company site and three additional sites, yet to be chosen, for cleanup and redevelopment. The city will assess first the sites to determine any actions needed to cleanup the sites, with extensive public involvement in this process.

Since 1995, EPA has provided $42 million in grants for 228 pilots, allowing communities nationwide to begin the process of redeveloping brownfields. This year alone, EPA will expand the program nationally with 71 new Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilots. The EPA has awarded a total of 12 Brownfields grants in New York, including the two grants awarded today. The six communities that previously received grants in New York State are Buffalo, Elmira, Glen Cove, New York City, Niagara County, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Rome, Yonkers and Ogdensberg.

For more information contact:
Mary Mears, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3669 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: