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Lehigh County, Pa. to Receive Brownfields Grant For Contaminated Land Clean Up and Local Job Creation

Release Date: 08/05/2009
Contact Information: Terri White, 215-814-5523

PHILADELPHIA (August 5, 2009) -- EPA has announced that Lehigh County, Pa. has been selected to receive $900,000 to provide loans and subgrants to help carry out cleanup activities, redevelopment projects, and create jobs for local residents living near brownfields sites.

EPA chose Lehigh County to receive this revolving loan fund grant on the basis that the county has previously demonstrated the ability to assist their community through effective brownfields redevelopment loans. Revolving loan funds are generally used to provide low or no interest loans for brownfields cleanups. This grant was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“Brownfields initiatives demonstrate how environmental protection and economic development work hand-in-hand,” said William C. Early, acting regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. “Along with generating jobs, this grant will help Lehigh County reclaim property that has been unused for years and turn those sites into assets for the community, the environment, and the economy.”

Lehigh County will use the funding to help support cleanup activities at the Martin Tower project at the former Bethlehem Steel headquarters site.

Brownfields are sites where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Brownfields Law) was passed. The Brownfields law expanded the definition of what is considered a brownfield, so communities may now focus on mine-scarred lands or sites contaminated by petroleum or the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs.

The Brownfields Program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the Brownfields Program, revolving loan fund grant recipients have executed 146 loans and awarded 41 subgrants to support brownfields cleanup totaling more than $76.8 million. The loan funds have leveraged more than $1.8 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and enabled the leveraging of 3,285 jobs in cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 on February 17, 2009, and has directed that the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at

To learn more information about activities in EPA’s mid-Atlantic Region, please visit

More information on brownfields cleanup revolving loan fund pilots and grants and other EPA Brownfields activities under the Recovery Act: