EPA Announces $600,000 to City of Tulsa, Oklahoma Dept. of Environmental Quality Additional Clean Up and Reuse of Brownfield Sites
Funds are part of $6.9 million awarded nationwide
DALLAS – (June 10, 2020) Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the city of Tulsa and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) will receive $300,000 each in Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grants. The grants are part of $6.9 million in supplemental funding EPA is providing for 25 current successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (Revolving Loan) grantees. The city of Tulsa’s grant will focus on asbestos cleanup at the Tulsa Honor Academy campus, and ODEQ will use their funding for oversight and for sub-grants to the city of Tulsa and other recipients.
“Some of the best examples of the transformative power of Brownfields funding can be found in Tulsa and across Oklahoma,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “I know our state and local partners in Oklahoma will continue leveraging these funds to revive contaminated properties and uplift communities and the economy.”
“I am glad to see the EPA award both the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the City of Tulsa with a $300,000 Brownfields grant today. The Brownfields program continues to strengthen our communities in Oklahoma and across the nation,” said Senator James Inhofe. “These grants help communities transform formerly unusable sites into thriving businesses, like the Mayo Hotel in Tulsa or Bricktown in Oklahoma City, allowing for economic growth and revitalization of our local economies, which is especially important as we continue to battle this global pandemic. I am glad to have had a part in this by authoring and ensuring passage of the bill reauthorizing the Brownfields program in 2018 and I look forward to seeing what new opportunities these sites will bring.”
“I am glad to see that my state, and my hometown, have been awarded these grants by the Trump administration to help revitalize our local economies. I support the innovative nature of these grants, and I am excited to see how American ingenuity is maximized by these resources,” said Congressman Kevin Hern (OK-01). “Hard earned tax dollars will be used to turn property that was otherwise useless, to be clean and safe properties that provide more opportunity for economic growth that moves us all forward to a brighter future.”
“The Brownfields program has helped Oklahoma by transforming once-vacant properties into community assets, especially for many under-resourced neighborhoods,” said Congresswoman Kendra Horn (OK-5). “As we face the COVID-19 crisis, protecting public health and restoring jobs in our community are more important than ever. This federal funding will provide a safer environment and facilitate job growth for Oklahomans."
“We appreciate the EPA’s continued federal investment in the City of Tulsa’s brownfields program,” said Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. “Tulsa has used brownfields grants since 1995 in more than 100 public and private redevelopment projects. This additional supplemental funding brings the total EPA brownfields investment in Tulsa to more than $3 million, which has helped drive nearly $200 million in public and private development. Adding to our Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund, this grant will allow us to keep assisting brownfield property owners who need environmental cleanups as they redevelop these properties and contribute to economic growth in Tulsa.”
"We are excited to have received the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant. This funding will help DEQ continue its mission of cleaning up and revitalizing areas with historic environmental contamination,” said Oklahoma DEQ Executive Director Scott Thompson. “Over the years, Oklahoma's Brownfields Program has had great success turning blighted spaces into productive centers for economic growth and job creation.”
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.
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% 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 February 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 160,306 jobs and more than $31 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.
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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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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