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EPA Announces New Mexico Environment Department Will Receive $500K Brownfields Grant to Address Contaminated Properties

Nationwide, 149 communities receive $64.6 million in funding for multipurpose, assessment and cleanup grants

06/14/2019
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (June 14, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the New Mexico Environment Department and its coalition partners, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, Gallup, Southwest New Mexico Council of Governments, and the city of Silver City are among 149 recipients of 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. Forty percent of the communities selected for funding will receive assistance for the first time.

“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.”

 “Brownfields funding from EPA can be vital for communities dealing with contaminated properties,” said Acting Regional Administrator David W. Gray. “In New Mexico, several cities will benefit from this funding and the economic boost it can contribute to.”

The coalition will partner to administer a $500,000 assessment grant. The funding will be used to assess contamination from mining and other industrial activities in several communities.

“Brownfields redevelopment projects have served as key components of economic growth for the cities, rural communities and tribes of New Mexico,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary James Kenney. “We are grateful to our coalition partners for collaborating with us on this Brownfield Assessment Grant from the EPA.”

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. 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.

One hundred and eight communities selected for grants this year have identified sites or targeted areas in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment.

“I am truly excited to join as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announces over $64 million in Brownfield funding,” said Scott Turner, Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council. “The Brownfields grant program is a tremendous vehicle for bringing real revitalization and transformation to the distressed communities of America. As the Executive Director of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council I am pleased that EPA continues to support the Council and the President’s work in this area. In fact, of the 149 communities selected for these grants, 108 will benefit communities with Opportunity Zones. I look forward to seeing the impact that these grants will have on neighborhoods and citizens across the country.”

Grants for Opportunity Zone communities will fund a variety of projects, such as cleaning up Riverside Park in Detroit, Michigan and addressing dilapidated buildings along the Chattahoochee Waterfront in Columbus, Georgia. More information on how the Brownfields Program has helped improve local economies can be found here.

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.

List of the FY 2019 Applicants Selected for Funding:
https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

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

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