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Release Date: 6/13/1996
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1588

 (San Francisco) -- Vice President Al Gore and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced that  the Navajo Nation has been awarded $200,000 to help fund the redevelopment of an industrial site under U.S. EPA's economic revitalization initiative, known as brownfields. The Navajo Nation was among 20 cities and government entities in the nation that today were added to the U.S. EPA's brownfields pilot project program. The Navajo Nation is the first tribe in the nation to be selected for a pilot project.

     "Brownfields projects bring together community leaders, investors, lenders, developers and citizens to work together and develop their own plans to turn economically abandoned areas into environmentally safe, economically attractive areas," said U.S. EPA Administrator Carol Browner.

     "In communities with brownfields, this program can bring about the general economic revitalization of neighborhoods that otherwise could not have gotten back on their feet," Browner added. "Everyone wins."

     "I am pleased that the Navajo Nation is being given funds to encourage the cleanup of contaminated industrial land and its return to productive community use," said Felicia Marcus, U.S. EPA's Regional Administrator.  "We firmly believe that environmental cleanup can bring life and strength to a community through jobs and a vision for the community's future."  

     The Navajo Nation's pilot project will focus on an investigation of the defunct Navajo Forest Product Industries mill site in Navajo, New Mexico. The grant funds, which will be provided to the nation over a two-year period, will be used to identify all hazardous substances on the site, assess public health and environmental risks, share information on the extent of contamination with the community, and develop a cleanup plan.

      Under these pilots -- which now total 60 nationwide -- the community and developers will work together to restore abandoned sites, thereby creating new jobs and economic growth, increasing property values and stimulating tax revenues. All of the national pilots will feature cooperative efforts between diverse community groups, investors, lenders, developers, regulators and other interested parties.

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