EPA Announces Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Will Receive $300K Brownfields Grant to Address Contaminated Properties
Nationwide, 149 communities receive $64.6 million in funding for multipurpose, assessment and cleanup grants
DALLAS – (June 5, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing Oklahoma City, Okla., is among 149 communities across America that have been 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. 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.”
“Oklahoma City continues to lead in leveraging EPA Brownfields funding to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods,” said Acting Regional Administrator David W. Gray. “This assessment grant will help the city spread that success to more underserved neighborhoods.”
The city of Oklahoma City will receive a $300,000 assessment grant to focus on underdeveloped and blighted areas of the city. The grant supports Oklahoma City’s vision of creating sustainable development, infrastructure, and private investment in these areas.
“The City has used Brownfields Assessment Grants since 2006 in in over 100 public and private redevelopments,” said Vice-Mayor Larry McAtee. “We look forward to focusing these funds on future redevelopments in the Core to Shore area.”
“Oklahoma is thankful to Administrator Wheeler and President Trump for keeping their promises to accelerate land cleanups. The return on investment for Brownfield grants is so great for communities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner. “We know that these small investments pay dividends by getting these contaminated properties back on the productive tax rolls and help communities create and support family-sustaining jobs.”
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.
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:
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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On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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