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EPA Administrator Wheeler Announces $6.9 Million in Supplemental Funding for Additional Clean Up and Reuse of Brownfield Sites Across the Nation

06/10/2020
Contact Information: 
Press@epa.gov

Pottstown, Pa. (June 10, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency is providing $6.9 million in supplemental funding for 25 current successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (Revolving Loan) grantees at the former Mercury Newspaper headquarters, located in an opportunity zone in Pottstown, PA. The RLF supplemental funds are being provided to communities that have demonstrated success in using their Revolving Loan program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities.

The former Mercury Newspaper site, located at the center of Pottstown, was remediated using an RLF loan. Redevelopment of this prominent building at the center of the borough will create the first boutique hotel in the borough creating jobs and tax revenue and support the downtown's burgeoning business and entertainment venues

“Every community receiving additional funding today from the EPA has Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction, meaning these cleanup activities at local brownfield sites will not only address legacy contamination, but also spur new economic opportunities where it is needed most,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This supplemental funding supports the Trump Administration’s commitment to reinvest in communities and provide opportunities by addressing properties with environmental challenges to improve human health and the environment.”

“Brownfields RLF projects help communities build upon successful ongoing efforts to clean up contamination, reuse existing infrastructure and provide economic opportunity for residents,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Continued redevelopment of Brownfields projects in Pennsylvania have resulted in increased jobs and tax revenues, as well as increased residential property values in nearby neighborhoods.  We congratulate our recipients with this additional funding and look forward to seeing their progress and continued success in their redevelopment efforts.”

All communities receiving supplemental funds have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority, and disadvantaged Americans.  When coupled with leveraged funds, such as other Brownfield grants or Opportunity Funds, Revolving Loans can be a powerful tool for revitalizing a community of need.

When revolving loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s Revolving Loan grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.

The 25 communities selected for FY20 RLF supplemental funding are:

Region 1           

  • Greater Portland Council of Governments (ME): $180,000
  • Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (ME): $300,000
  • Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission (ME): $180,000
  • Northwest Regional Planning Commission (VT): $180,000
  • Pawtucket, City of (RI): $180,000
  • Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission (VT): $180,000
  • Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (VT): $300,000

Region 2           

  • Camden Redevelopment Agency (NJ): $300,000
  • New York, City of (NY): $300,000
  • Niagara County (NY): $300,000

Region 3

  • Montgomery, County of (PA): $300,000
  • Northampton, County of (PA): $300,000
  • Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development (PA): $300,000

Region 4           

  • Atlanta, City of (GA): $300,000
  • Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (KY): $300,000
  • Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government (KY): $300,000

Region 5           

  • Indiana Finance Authority (IN): $300,000

Region 6           

  • Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (OK): $300,000
  • Tulsa, City of (OK): $300,000
  • South Central Planning and Development Commission (LA): $300,000
  • Texarkana, City of (TX): $300,000

Region 7           

  • Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority of St. Louis County (MO): $300,000
  • Springfield, City of (MO): $300,000

Region 8           

  • Snowy Mountain Development Corporation (MT): $300,000

Region 9           

  • Humboldt, County of (CA): $300,000

Background

A brownfield is a property where the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Under President Trump, over 70 percent of the communities selected for Brownfields grants in 2019 were located in Opportunity Zones. Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfield sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfield sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

As of May 2020, under the EPA Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties have been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to attract more than 167,000 jobs and more than $32.6 billion of public and private funding.

The 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields

For more on Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding

For more information on Opportunity Zones: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones

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