EPA Announces Record $8.1 Million Brownfields Investment in Massachusetts
President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help revitalize New England communities, Build a Better America and Address Environmental Justice Concerns
BOSTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a $8,100,000 investment in Massachusetts made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to revitalize communities across the country by cleaning up contaminated and blighted sites and redeveloping them for productive uses.
The funds 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 236 communities nationwide to receive grant awards totaling $147.3 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 $180 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.
"With today's announcement, we're turning blight into might for communities across America," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "EPA's Brownfields Program breathes new life into communities by helping to turn contaminated and potentially dangerous sites into productive economic contributors. Thanks to President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are significantly ramping up our investments in communities, with the bulk of our funding going to places that have been overburdened and underserved for far too long."
"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."
Detail On EPA Brownfields Grants in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is receiving seven grants under the Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment Grants, one grant under the Revolving Loan Fund program, and two grants for supplemental funding under the Revolving Loan Fund program.
The Brownfields Cleanup Grants are as follows:
- City of Boston – $650,000 to clean up the Parker and Terrace site in Roxbury
- City of Peabody – $650,000 to clean up the Clark Steel Drum site.
The following Community-wide Brownfields Assessment Grants will be used to address various sites throughout the indicated cities or planning commission service areas:
- Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission – $500,000
- City of Fitchburg – $300,000
- City of Framingham – $500,000
- Merrimack Valley Planning Commission – $500,000
- Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (Taunton) – $500,000
EPA's Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Brownfields grants provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide loans and subgrants to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. Through these grants, EPA strengthens the marketplace and encourages stakeholders to leverage resources to clean up and redevelop brownfields. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. The supplemental RLF funds announced today are going to communities that have demonstrated success in using their revolving loan funds to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. The supplemental funds will be used to continue their progress in reusing vacant and abandoned properties and turning them into community assets such as housing, recreation and open space, health facilities, social services, and commerce opportunities. The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant and Supplemental RLF grants are to the following organizations:
- Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission – $2,500,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the Berkshire County area
- Merrimack Valley Planning Commission – $1,000,000 to supplement their successful RLF program which serves the Merrimac Valley area in Massachusetts
- Town of North Attleboro – $1,000,000 for a new Brownfields RLF program intending to focus on the Downtown target area
"Today marks an important step in cleaning up the Commonwealth," said U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey. "By removing dangerous chemicals from our towns and cities once and for all, these Brownfields grants will protect public health and help our local economies thrive. I applaud the Environmental Protection Agency for delivering this important funding to the communities that need it most."
"Brownfield assessments and cleanups play a vital role as we work towards a safer and healthier environment and unlock opportunities for economic growth," said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. "I'm glad that Massachusetts is receiving this federal funding, which will help build on the momentum of communities leading these efforts across the Commonwealth."
"Thanks to the EPA, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission will have the important funds they need to continue site assessment across the district it serves," said Congressman Richard E. Neal, Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. "This is the first step toward transforming vacant or abandoned lots and buildings into vibrant recreational spaces, residences, or businesses. I look forward to seeing the restoration of more sites across western and central Massachusetts."
"Environmental contamination at brownfield sites is a danger to our health and planet, and stalls critical development. The $500,000 headed to Southeast Framingham from the EPA will help the City clean up and redevelop brownfield sites so they can become community assets like housing, parks, health facilities, social services, and new businesses. This is an important step for our public health, our environment, and our local economy," said Assistant Speaker of the House of Representatives Katherine Clark.
"The Brownfields Cleanup Grant is great news for the Peabody community. This site, which is located in an environmental justice neighborhood, could soon become a park or art walk, which will help set the stage for the Riverwalk project and make downtown Peabody a destination for our entire region to enjoy. I remain committed to supporting these efforts and look forward to helping secure even more funding for the city in the future." said U.S. Representative Seth Moulton.
"With these seven grants, Massachusetts will have the tools needed to clean up and reinvest in brownfield sites, while protecting the environment in the process. This is an important step for climate resiliency in the Bay State," said U.S. Representative Jake Auchincloss.
"EPA Brownfields grants provide needed resources for communities long affected by environmental contamination that results in public health impacts, environmental degradation and economic disinvestment - particularly in Environmental Justice communities," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "The grants provide a jump-start to restoring the environmental health of a community while supporting much needed economic redevelopment. This new EPA funding to these Massachusetts communities will result in the restoration of long-abandoned contaminated properties and directly improve the quality of life for community residents."
EPA's Brownfields grants and assistance to Massachusetts 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 10.3 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.