Biden-Harris Administration Announces $1.9 million to Virginia Through Investing in America Agenda for Cleanup and Technical Assistance at Polluted Brownfield Sites
Largest investment ever in brownfields communities
PHILADELPHA (May 25, 2023) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $1.9 million to the state of Virginia from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Virginia while advancing environmental justice.
EPA made four selections in Virginia for grants totaling $1.9 million in competitive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant programs. Thanks to the historic boost from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the largest ever funding awarded in the history of the EPA’s Brownfields MARC Grant programs.
These investments are part of President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to grow the American economy from the bottom up and middle-out – from rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, to driving over $470 billion in private sector manufacturing and clean energy investments in the United States, to creating a manufacturing and innovation boom powered by good paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree, to building a clean-energy economy that will combat climate change and make our communities more resilient.
“We’re working across the country to revitalize what were once dangerous and polluted sites in overburdened communities into more sustainable and environmentally just places that serve as community assets. Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we’re moving further and faster than ever before to clean up contaminated sites, spur economic redevelopment, and deliver relief that so many communities have been waiting for,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This critical wave of investments is the largest in Brownfields history and will accelerate our work to protect the people and the planet by transforming what was once blight into might.”
“This unprecedented Brownfields funding will help Virginia communities leverage much needed resources to revitalize their neighborhoods and become healthier and economically stronger,” said EPA Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “Everyone deserves the right to live, play and work in places that support their needs and allow them to thrive.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver for Virginians,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D – VA). “I’m glad to see this federal funding is headed to Virginia to help clean up hazardous sites.”
“Unfortunately, too many of our communities are still dealing with the consequences of the use of toxic and hazardous pollutants. I am pleased that this significant funding, courtesy of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I was proud to negotiate, will support them as they work to clean up and rehabilitate these sites and ensure the safety of local residents,” said Senator Mark Warner (D – VA).
Many communities that are under economic stress, particularly those located in areas that have experienced long periods of disinvestment, lack the resources needed to initiate brownfield cleanup and redevelopment projects. As brownfield sites are transformed into community assets, they attract jobs, promote economic revitalization and transform communities into sustainable and environmentally just places.
Thanks to the historic $1.5 billion boost from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping more communities than ever before begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields and stimulate economic opportunity, and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities.
EPA’s Brownfields Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to direct 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments to disadvantaged communities. The Brownfields Program strives to meet this commitment and advance environmental justice and equity considerations into all aspects of its work. Approximately 84 percent of the MARC program applications selected to receive funding proposed to work in areas that include historically underserved communities.
The following organizations in Virginia have been selected to receive EPA Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Programs.
- Alleghany Highlands Economic Development has been selected to receive $500,000. Grant funds will be used to develop a site inventory database and conduct 20 Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop preliminary cleanup plans and support community engagement activities. Assessment activities will focus on Alleghany County, the City of Covington, and the Towns of Clifton Forge and Iron Gate. Priority sites include a 109-acre former industrial manufacturing facility, a historic former high school site, a 24-acre former leather tannery, and a former iron manufacturing facility.
- The City of Roanoke has been selected to receive $400,000. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 14 Phase I and five Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare two cleanup plans, develop and maintain a GIS-based brownfield site inventory, and support community engagement activities. The target area for this grant is the city’s Belmont-Fallon neighborhood. Priority sites include a former carwash, a railcar manufacturer, and a former rayon textile mill.
- The City of Vinton has been selected to receive $500,000. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 13 Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare two cleanup plans and to conduct community engagement activities including eight community meetings. The target area for this grant is the Town of Vinton with a focus on its gateway and downtown areas. Priority sites include the Leslie Industrial Site, which consists of the Sav’ on Signs sign repair and manufacturing facility, a business that creates custom embroidered and screen-printed materials, and the McClung Industrial site adjacent to an active rail line.
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has been selected to receive $500,000. Community-wide grant funds will be used to conduct 12 Phase I and four Phase II environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to prepare two cleanup plans and to conduct community engagement activities including 12 community meetings. The target areas for this grant are the Town of Buchanan and the City of Buena Vista. Priority sites include the 4.5-acre former Groendyk Button Factory that closed in the early 1990s and is vacant, a 20,000-square-foot building in disrepair that was once a furniture store, a 1.5-acre former rail siding property used as a junkyard, and the 8-acre former Bernson Silk Mill that closed in the 1990s.
You can read more about this year’s MARC selectees.
Brownfields Technical Assistance Providers and Research Grants
EPA is also announcing funding selection for two Brownfields technical assistance opportunities. The Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) selectees provide specialized technical knowledge, research, and training to help stakeholders understand brownfields-related subject matter, and guide them through the brownfield assessment, clean-up, and revitalization process. This assistance is a key part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to advance economic opportunities and address environmental justice issues in underserved communities. This technical assistance is available to all stakeholders and comes at no cost to communities. The two funding opportunities announced today include the following:
- EPA selected West Virginia University Research Corporation to receive $5 million to provide training and technical assistance to communities across the state under the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Communities Program. This funding comes entirely from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
- EPA is also expanding the scope of its technical assistance offerings under the Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program to include three new subject-specific grants totaling $2 million in three areas, including providing technical assistance to nonprofits seeking to reuse brownfields; provide research, outreach, and guidance on minimizing displacement resulting from brownfields redevelopment; and providing outreach and guidance on land banking tactics for brownfields revitalization.
For more information about Brownfields Technical Assistance and Research, please visit https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-technical-assistance-and-research.
EPA has selected these organizations to receive funding to address and support the reuse of brownfield sites. EPA anticipates making all the awards announced today once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
- For more on Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
- For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields