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Brownfields "Working for Cleaner Communities" Training Grants Awarded in Alaska, Oregon and Washington

Release Date: 3/31/2004
Contact Information: Roopa Karia
(206) 553-6316

March 31, 2004

A new round of Brownfields Job Training Grants will teach environmental-cleanup job skills to 1,080 individuals living in low-income areas near Brownfields sites in 16 communities. To date, more than 60 percent of people completing Brownfields training programs have obtained employment in the environmental field with an average hourly wage of $12.84.

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt announced the selection of the grants today while visiting the Greater Cincinnati Occupational Health Center, where 120 people will be trained in lead and asbestos abatement, mold remediation, environmental sampling and related skills. Cincinnati is one of sixteen communities across the country that will receive grants ranging from $40,000 to $200,000.

"These grants focus on achieving results,” Leavitt said. “They train people for real jobs, jobs that help restore neighborhoods, protect public health and build strong communities.”

A total of $2.4 million will be awarded to 16 communities in 13 states (Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Missouri), to provide environmental job training at Brownfields sites. In the Pacific Northwest, three projects were selected for funding: King County, Washington; Oregon Tradeswomen, Portland, Oregon; and City of Selawik, Alaska.

Today’s announcement brings to 82 the number of grants awarded since the job training program started in 1998. Sixty-six pilots totaling $13.6 million are underway or complete; more than 1,800 participants have completed training; and more than 1,100 people have obtained employment in the environmental field. Applicants for the job training program must be located in or near a community that currently receives, or has received, financial assistance from EPA for Brownfields-related activities.

In January 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act, which authorizes up to $250 million per year for Brownfields grants, including up to $50 million for the assessment and cleanup of low-risk petroleum contaminated sites. This legislation allows EPA to provide training to expedite assessment, cleanup and preparation of Brownfields sites.

Brownfields are properties, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Brownfields revitalization provides communities with the tools to reduce environmental and health risks, reuse abandoned properties, take advantage of existing infrastructure, create a stronger local tax base, attract new businesses and jobs, create new recreational areas, and reduce the pressure to develop open spaces.

Since 2003, EPA has provided more than $75 million in all types of Brownfields grants to States, local governments and non-profits under the Brownfields law. The Brownfields program has leveraged more than $5 billion in public and private investment resulting from EPA's investment of less than $800 million. Every acre of reclaimed Brownfields saves 4.5 acres of greenspace such as park and recreation areas.

More information on all the grant recipients is available at: