EPA and Rhode Island Officials Celebrate EPA's $3.15 Million Brownfields Ocean State Investment
EPA Deputy Administrator Joins Senator Reed, Senator Whitehouse and Rep. Cicilline in Woonsocket
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe joined prominent Rhode Island officials in Woonsocket to celebrate EPA's $3.15 million Brownfields redevelopment investment in Rhode Island. The funding announced for 2022 was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and is intended to revitalize communities across the country by cleaning up contaminated and blighted sites and redeveloping them for productive uses.
EPA Deputy Administrator McCabe was joined by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Acting Director Terry Gray, City of Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, and EPA New England Regional Administrator David Cash.
In Rhode Island, EPA will award $2 Million to the Department of Environmental Management (RI DEM) for assessment of properties throughout the state under the agency's Brownfields Program. EPA will also award two grants to the City of Woonsocket - $500,000 for community-wide assessment work and $650,000 for cleanup work at the Dorado Property.
"EPA's Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors," said EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe. "Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are significantly ramping up our investments in communities across Rhode Island and right here in Woonsocket. EPA is committed to ensuring that the bulk of our funding is going to confront challenges that have held back so many vulnerable communities like Woonsocket from reaching their full potential."
"I am excited and grateful to receive the generous EPA awards to assess, clean-up, and transform blighted properties in our community. These grants will help move these properties into productive resources that create jobs, generate tax revenues, improve our environment, and enhance the health and well-being of our residents," stated Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
The funds announced by EPA will support under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties and are part of a historic national EPA investment in Brownfields remediation. The funding awards are among 227 communities nationwide to receive grant awards totaling $147.5 million in EPA Brownfields funding through its Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. The Agency is also announcing $107 million in supplemental funding to 39 existing Revolving Loan Fund grant recipients who have demonstrated success in their work to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. Today's announcement includes approximately $179.3 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help turn brownfield sites across the nation into hubs of economic growth and job creation, along with more than $75 million from appropriated funds.
"I'm pleased to help direct federal funding to Rhode Island for community-led development. The Brownfields program has been a huge success in the Ocean State and has helped turn formerly contaminated sites into economic engines of opportunity. That's why I helped include over $1.5 billion for Brownfields nationwide in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Not only will these funds target property cleanups and turnarounds in underserved neighborhoods, but it should also go to hiring local workers for good-paying jobs doing assessment, cleanup, and construction work," said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
"Securing a Brownfields grant is the first step to putting vacant, polluted lots back to productive use. This federal funding from our bipartisan infrastructure law will breathe new life into neighborhoods across the state," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse.
"Rhode Island has benefited tremendously from brownfields remediation where we have taken unused polluted land and put it back into good, productive use. This new funding will allow us to do that again by conducting the studies and remediation needed so that we can return these land areas to Rhode Islanders. This is one more way that the bipartisan infrastructure bill is helping to make our communities better and creating more economic opportunities," said U.S. Representative David Cicilline.
"The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to pay tremendous dividends for Rhode Islanders," said Rep. Jim Langevin. "By investing in our communities, we are helping to build a cleaner, greener, healthier future for our entire state. I look forward to seeing how these critical federal dollars will be used to transform contaminated sites into redeveloped, safer areas," said U.S. Representative Jim Langevin.
"Congratulations to DEM and the City of Woonsocket for securing this brownfield assessment and cleanup grant funding, which I regard as one of the best community investments that government can make," said Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee. "Cleaning up and 'recycling' polluted industrial sites lessens public health and environmental threats, revitalizes streets and neighborhoods, increases the tax base, and takes a tangible step toward environmental justice for residents of communities historically affected by economic disinvestment. Rhode Island appreciates the US Environmental Protection Agency's support in revitalizing our communities."
"DEM is ecstatic to receive this $2 million EPA grant, which will allow us to continue to help communities throughout Rhode Island conduct assessments of brownfield sites and transform these blighted spaces into neighborhoods that are healthy, sustainable, and reflective of the people who call them home," said R.I. Department of Environmental Management Director Terry Gray. "We are grateful that EPA is committed to funding our work to clean up and restore sites in overburdened communities across our state. Congratulations to both the City of Woonsocket and DEM's Office of Land Revitalization and Sustainable Materials Management for their winning grant applications in this highly competitive national program!"
"Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and President Biden's leadership, EPA's Brownfields program is making a record investment of more than $51 million to revitalize communities across New England," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Today's investment of EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup funding will jump start economic redevelopment and job creation in many of New England's hardest hit and underserved communities as we work to turn environmental risks into economic assets."
EPA's Brownfields grants and assistance to Rhode Island this year is among other significant annual investments by EPA to help New England communities to address brownfield properties. Across the six New England states this year, EPA is awarding a total of $51,285,200 to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites in 42 communities.
In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $125 million in assessment grant funding, $122 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $87 million in cleanup grant funding, totaling $334 million. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $4 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 23,000 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.
Nationally, today's announcement includes:
- $112.8 million for 183 selectees for Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
- $18.2 million for 36 selectees for Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.
- $16.3 million for 17 selectees for Revolving Loan Fund grants that will provide funding for recipients to offer loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites.
- $107 million for 39 high-performing Revolving Loan Fund Grant recipients to help communities continue their work to carry out cleanup and redevelopment projects on contaminated brownfield properties. Supplemental funding for Revolving Loan Fund Grants is available to recipients that have depleted their funds and have viable cleanup projects ready for work.
Since its inception in 1995, EPA's Brownfields Program has leveraged about $35 billion in public and private investment in cleanup and redevelopment of brownfields. This has led to significant benefits for communities across the country. For example:
- To date, this funding has led to more than 183,000 jobs in cleanup, construction, and redevelopment and more than 9,500 properties have been made ready for reuse.
- Based on grant recipient reporting, recipients leveraged on average $20.43 for each EPA Brownfields dollar and 3 jobs per $100,000 of EPA Brownfield Grant funds expended on assessment, cleanup, and revolving loan fund cooperative agreements.
- In addition, an academic peer-reviewed study has found that residential properties near brownfield sites increased in value by 5% to 15% as a result of cleanup activities.
- Finally, analyzing data near 48 brownfields, EPA found an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional tax revenue for local governments in a single year after cleanup—2 to 7 times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of those brownfield sites.
A brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Redevelopment made possible through the program includes everything from grocery stores and affordable housing to health centers, museums, greenways, and solar farms.
The Brownfields Program delivers on the Biden Administration's Justive40 initiative, which states that at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs flow to disadvantaged communities. EPA is committed to meeting and exceeding this goal. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today's announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
The funding announced today will help communities begin to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges caused by brownfields by stimulating economic opportunity and environmental revitalization in historically overburdened communities. Projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals.
The list of the fiscal year 2022 applicants selected for funding is available here. EPA anticipates that it will award the grants once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied by the selected recipients.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on August 16-19, 2022 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 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). Conference registration is open at www.brownfields2022.org.