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EPA announces $2.4 million in Brownfields Grants for West Virginia

EPA designates a total of $64.6 million for Brownfields nationwide

06/05/2019
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PHILADELHIA (June 5, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing $2.4 million to support seven Brownfields grantees in West Virginia.  These projects are seven of the 149 communities selected to receive 151 grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities in opportunity zones and other parts of the country in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.

“These grants fulfill several of President Trump’s top priorities simultaneously: helping communities in need transform contaminated sites into community assets that not only create jobs and jumpstart economic development but also improve public health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are targeting these funds to areas that need them the most. Approximately 40 percent of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time, which means we are reaching areas that may previously been neglected, and 108 of the selected communities have identified sites or targeted areas for redevelopment that fall within Opportunity Zones.”

The seven Brownfields projects in West Virginia include:

The Belomar Regional Council, which serves communities in the Ohio River Corridor between Bellaire, Ohio, and Wheeling, West Virginia, will receive $200,000 to conduct environmental site assessments, develop cleanup plans and reuse plans, develop a prioritized brownfield site inventory, and conduct community outreach activities. The Belomar Regional Council has identified the Great Stone Viaduct in Bellaire, the former Robrecht property in Wheeling, and seven other sites in the corridor as priority sites.

The Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle will recive $600,000 to environmental site assessments and develop cleanup plans. Grant funds will be used to create a GIS web-based inventory system, prioritize sites, and conduct community outreach activities. Assessment activities will focus on four target areas within the 3-2-1 Brownfields Coalition Corridor of Opportunity. Coalition partners are the Jefferson County Port Authority and the Brooke Hancock Regional Planning Development Council.

The Coalfield Development Corporation in Huntington will receive $500,000 to clean up the former Black Diamond Facility at 2923 Park Avenue in Huntington. The 50,000 square-foot facility was built on five acres in the late 1910s and operated as an industrial site for manufacturing auto, airplane, military, and mine car parts, processing electric transformers, fabricating and welding metal, handling scrap, and burning waste. The site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, PCBs, and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to create a project summary document for local community awareness.

The Ronceverte Development Corporation in Greenbrier County will receive $414,000 to clean up the former Lewisburg Wholesale Building at 107 Chestnut Street in the City of Ronceverte. The 45,000 square-foot, three-story building was constructed in the 1920s and was used as a grocery wholesale distribution center as well as for furniture manufacturing and finishing, electronics manufacturing, and bulk grocery storage. The site is contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and inorganic contaminants.

The Save the Tygart Watershed Association Inc. in Taylor County will receive $200,000 to clean up the Carr China Site at 230 Newcome Avenue in Grafton. From 2008 to 2010, EPA conducted cleanup work to remove 12,000 tons of soil and most of the facility’s remaining infrastructure. While the cleanup work addressed the most imminent environmental threats, foundations and structural remnants, residual contaminants remain onsite. The 7.39-acre site was formerly a china manufacturing facility that operated from 1916 until 1952, suffered a fire in the 1960s, and is contaminated with heavy metals. Grant funds also will be used to plan 24 quarterly community meetings and develop information materials, media announcements, and print ads.

The Wayne County Economic Development Authority Inc. will receive $200,000 to conduct environmental site assessments along the 152 Corridor. Grant funds also will be used to inventory and prioritize brownfield sites, develop two cleanup and reuse plans, and support community outreach activities, including monthly public board meetings and quarterly public meetings.

The West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation in Morgantown will receive $300,000 to conduct environmental site assessments near or adjacent to the Mon River target area. Grant funds will also be used to develop cleanup plans, inventory and prioritize sites, and conduct community outreach activities.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield 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. For example, Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfields 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 brownfields sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

Background

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. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. As of May 2019, under the EPA Brownfields Program 30,153 properties have been assessed, and 86,131 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to leverage 150,120 jobs and more than $28 billion of public and private funding.

In 2018 Congress reauthorized the statutory authority for the Brownfields Program. The reauthorization included changes to the program to expand the list of entities eligible for Brownfields grants, increase the limit of individual Brownfields cleanup grants to $500,000, and add grant authority for Multipurpose grants. These important changes will help communities address and cleanup more complex brownfield sites.

The 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on December 11-13 in Los Angeles, California. 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.

For a list of all the grants awarded: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

For the booklet “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-06/documents/bf_booklet.pdf

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

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

More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org

List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding: [website]

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

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

More on the 2019 Brownfields Conference: https://www.brownfields2019.org