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EPA announces the selection of $1.1 million in funding for Brownfields assessment grants to contaminated properties in Massachusetts

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Emily Bender (bender.emily@epa.gov)
617-918-1037

BOSTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that four grantees in the state of Massachusetts have been selected to receive $1.1 million in EPA Brownfields assessment funding and technical assistance. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities around the state 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."

EPA intends to award Brownfields grants to the following groups for sites in Massachusetts:

  • The City of Brockton with a $300,000 grant for community-wide site assessment.
  • The Franklin Regional Council of Governments with a $200,000 grant for community-wide assessment focused on Turners Falls, Orange and Greenfield.
  • The Montachusett Regional Planning Commission with a $300,000 grant for community-wide assessment focused on the Route 2 corridor.
  • The City of Springfield with a $300,000 grant for community-wide assessment.

The Massachusetts based grantees are among 151 grants awarded nationwide, totaling $64.6 million. The EPA Brownfields funding will provide communities with funding to assess underutilized and possibly contaminated properties that are being considered for redevelopment.

EPA's Brownfields grants and assistance to Massachusetts this year are 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 $11.6 million for over 30 communities to assess or clean contaminated brownfields sites.

"Communities across Massachusetts will benefit from EPA Brownfields funding," said EPA New England Acting Regional Administrator Deb Szaro. "Brownfields funding jump starts environmental cleanup at contaminated properties allowing them to be re-developed to benefit the community and its residents."

"In Massachusetts, we've seen how environmental assessments and reuse plans funded by EPA's Brownfields grants lead to transformative economic development projects," said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "These funds help communities return underutilized and contaminated property to safe and productive use."

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.

"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."

More about the Massachusetts Grants:

City of Brockton
The City of Brockton is receiving $300,000 to conduct 13 environmental site assessments and prepare six cleanup plans. This funding will help the city with their reuse planning.

Franklin Regional Council of Governments
The Franklin Regional Council of Governments is receiving $200,000 for assessing brownfields sites in Turner Falls, downtown Orange, and the downtown and 1-91 areas of Greenfield. They will use the funding to conduct 10 environmental assessments and complete two reuse plans.

Montachusett Regional Planning Commission
The Montachusett Regional Planning Commission will receive $300,000 for assessment of hazardous substances in the Route 2 Corridor area, which includes the communities of Athol, Ayer, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Leominster, Shirley and Winchendon. The funding will be used to conduct 10 environmental assessments and complete two reuse plans.

City of Springfield
The City of Springfield will receive $300,000 for brownfield assessment. They will use the funding to conduct seven environmental assessments and develop five reuse plans.

Background

In New England, since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded $114 million in assessment grant funding, $109 million in revolving loan fund grants and supplemental funding and $75 million in cleanup grant funding. These grant funds have paved the way for more than $3.18 billion in public and private cleanup and redevelopment investment and for over 20,806 jobs in assessment, cleanup, construction and redevelopment.

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.

For More Information:

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

Publication: 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