Biden-Harris Administration Announces $9.5 Million Through Investing in America Agenda for Cleanup and Technical Assistance at Polluted Brownfield Sites in Wisconsin
EPA announces the largest investment ever in brownfields communities made by President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda
CHICAGO (May 25, 2023) – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $9.5 million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda to expedite the assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites in Wisconsin while advancing environmental justice.
EPA selected six communities in Wisconsin to receive eight grants totaling $6.5 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. In addition, the agency is announcing $3 million in non-competitive supplemental funding to a successful existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant program in Wisconsin to help expedite its work by extending the program’s capacity to provide more funding for additional cleanups.
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.”
“Given the Midwest’s rich industrial history, it’s no surprise that Wisconsin has a significant portion of EPA’s funded brownfields sites,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore. “Thanks to the historic brownfields investment announced today, more communities will get the financial help they need to transform abandoned, blighted properties into assets that attract business and community development.”
“I voted for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fix our nation’s infrastructure, create good paying jobs, and build a cleaner, safer, and more resilient environment for the next generation. This funding will allow communities across Wisconsin to address legacy pollution that prevents these sites from being redeveloped into affordable housing, new businesses, or green spaces,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “By cleaning up legacy pollution, we can attract businesses to invest in and develop these sites, increase the tax base for cities like Milwaukee, spur job creation, and revitalize our neighborhoods.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is transforming brownfields into areas of growth and promise,” said Representative Gwen Moore. “I am so proud to support these investments in Milwaukee, which will support healthier communities and lift up the well-being of my constituents.”
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.
EPA has selected the following entities in Wisconsin to receive Brownfields funding through the Multipurpose, Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup (MARC) Grant Program.
- Calumet County will receive a $1 million grant funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to conduct 18 Phase I and 16 Phase II environmental site assessments and support community outreach. Assessments will focus on the City of Chilton’s Main Street Corridor, the City of Brillion’s Iron Works Corridor, the City of Appleton’s Water Street and Washington Street Corridors and the City of Kaukauna’s Fox River Corridor. Priority sites include Chilton Plating, Brillion Iron Works, a vacant manufactured gas plant in Appleton, and a former railroad switchyard in Kaukana.
“As a previous high-performance brownfield assessment grantee, Calumet County is pleased to accept a new EPA Brownfields Coalition Assessment Grant,” said Calumet County Administrator Todd M. Romenesko. “We appreciate this opportunity to build on our past successes and look forward to utilizing this new grant, in conjunction with our coalition grant members Outagamie County and the Fox Cities Greenway, Inc.”
- The City of Eau Claire will receive a $500,000 community-wide grant to conduct 12 Phase I and six Phase II environmental site assessments. The funds also will be used to prepare four cleanup plans and to develop a brownfield site inventory. Priority sites include a former nursing home, a former bulk fuel storage facility, a former beer brewing and bottling plant, and a former retail property.
“Eau Claire is honored to be chosen as a recipient of the EPA Brownfield's Assessment Grant; this grant has exciting potential for redevelopment opportunities,” said Eau Claire City Council President Emily Berge. “Eau Claire has been intentional about creating a city where people want to live, work, and play and this has been paying off. People and businesses are moving into Eau Claire because of the high quality of life we offer. As our business parks get closer to capacity, we need to keep looking for areas to develop. This grant allows the city to be forward-thinking and continue to grow in a responsible manner. “
- The Green Bay Redevelopment Authority will receive a $1 million grant funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up the Badger Sheet Metal site at 420 S. Broadway and 419 S. Maple St. The site, formerly used for multiple residential and industrial purposes, is contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum. The grant will also support community outreach and a public meeting.
- The City of Green Bay will receive a $500,000 community-wide grant to conduct 12 environmental site assessments, prepare five cleanup plans and update the city’s GIS-based brownfield site inventory. Priority sites include a coal storage and transferring facility, a former railyard, a former paper mill, a former restaurant and a former meatpacking facility.
“Green Bay’s urban core has experienced tremendous revitalization over the past 20 years, and a common denominator behind every major redevelopment has been support from EPA’s Brownfields programs,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich. “Green Bay is proud to be a shining example of how EPA’s resources can help restore the environment, spur neighborhood reinvestment, and uplift communities by addressing environmental justice issues. With these two new grants, we aim to double down on our brownfield redevelopment efforts within Green Bay’s Shipyard Corridor and on key sites located along the shores of the Fox River and East River.”
- The City of Manitowoc will receive a $500,000 grant funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up the River Point District Phase 2 Redevelopment Area and to support community outreach activities. The 6.1-acre cleanup site was developed for railroad use in the 1860s and remained operation through most of the 20th century. It is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, heavy metals in soil and groundwater, petroleum, and chlorinated solvents.
“We are excited to add another chapter to our history of collaboration with the EPA and to continue building on the recent successes achieved in our River Point District,” said Manitowoc Mayor Justin M. Nickels. “This funding allows us to remediate sites and remove barriers in our pursuit of working with private funding to further expand housing options in the downtown and throughout the community.”
- The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will receive a $500,000 community-wide grant to conduct 20 Phase I and ten Phase II environmental site assessments. Funds will also be used to prepare five cleanup plans and to support community outreach activities. The city is targeting the 25 census tracts that make up the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. Priority sites include 3002 W. Burleigh St., 2930 W. Burleigh St., 3167 N. 30th St., 3130-48 N. 31st St., 3131 N. 31st St., and 3139 N. 31st St.
- The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will also receive a $2 million grant funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up a former industrial property at 3940 N. 35th St. The 13.7-acre site was historically used for several industrial purposes which include disposal of an industrial waste solution containing iron and sulfuric acid, also known as pickle liquor, into multiple lagoons; housing numerous aboveground storage tanks including three 60,000-gallon propane tanks, two 30,000-gallon propane tanks and a 500,000-gallon fuel oil tank; storing automobile frames and loading products onto rail cars. The vacant site is contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and heavy metals. Grant funds will also support community engagement activities including community meetings with virtual options.
“For years, the City of Milwaukee’s strong partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency has delivered critical federal funding for brownfield remediation and redevelopment in our neighborhoods,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “This new funding will deploy additional testing and clean-up support at brownfields and historically-contaminated properties in our community. Thank you to President Joe Biden and the EPA for their commitment and investment in Milwaukee’s future.”
- Sheboygan County will receive a $500,000 community-wide grant to conduct 12 Phase I and 12 Phase II environmental site assessments. Funds also will be used to identify and prioritize additional sites, prepare a revitalization plan, and support community engagement activities. The target area is the 15th Street Corridor in the City of Sheboygan. Priority sites include the Jakum Hall Property and an assemblage of nine parcels on North 15th Street, an assemblage of three parcels at 13th Avenue and Erie Avenue, and an assemblage of three parcels at 13th Avenue and Michigan Avenue.
"Sheboygan County could not be more thrilled to receive its fourth assessment grant. The prior three grants leveraged well over $100 million in redevelopment projects, which for a community of our size, is significant,” said Sheboygan County Board Chairman Vernon Koch. “We look forward to working with the USEPA to continue building on our prior success.”
You can read more about this year’s MARC Grant selectees, here.
Non-competitive Supplemental Funding Through the Existing Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant Program
In addition to the $10.2 million in EPA funds already awarded, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) has been selected to receive an additional $3 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law because it has a high-performing RLF program with significantly depleted funds. The RLF program has successfully made loans or subgrants leading to 15 cleanup projects that are either completed or underway. Potential projects are highlighted for use of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding including the Five Points and Riverwest Food Accelerator projects. The funding will extend the program’s capacity to provide funding for more cleanups in the Milwaukee’s most underserved areas.
You can read more about this year’s RLF Grant recipients, here.
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.
EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $2.37 billion in Brownfield Grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s investments in addressing brownfield sites have leveraged more than $36 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding has leveraged, from both public and private sources, nearly 260,000 jobs. Communities that previously received Brownfields Grants used these resources to fund assessments and cleanups of brownfields, and successfully leverage an average of 10.6 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds spent and $19.78 for every dollar.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 8-11, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).
- 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