EPA to Award $10.5 Million to Address Contaminated Sites in New York
Funding Includes First-Ever Brownfields-Specific Funding under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
NEW YORK – Today, the Biden Administration through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is awarding $254.5 million in Brownfields Grants to 265 communities, including 12 grants totaling $10.5 million across New York State. Today’s grants are supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.
Brownfield projects can range from cleaning up buildings with asbestos or lead contamination, to assessing and cleaning up abandoned properties that once managed dangerous chemicals. Once cleaned up, former brownfield properties can be redeveloped into productive uses such as grocery stores, affordable housing, health centers, museums, parks, and solar farms.
The Brownfields Program advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to disadvantaged communities. Approximately 86 percent of the communities selected to receive funding as part of today’s announcement have proposed projects in historically underserved areas.
“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.”
“The brownfields program is a powerful tool that helps overburdened communities in New York address local inequities by providing a means to revitalize properties and promote environmental health, economic growth, and job creation,” said EPA Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “The Brownfields program transforms communities, and BIL gives the program a huge shot in the arm – with a historic $1.5 billion dollars that will be leveraged to make a real and lasting on-the-ground difference for communities across the country.”
EPA’s Brownfields grants and other technical assistance programs like the RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative are also helping to build the clean energy economy. Today’s announcement includes a former coal mine in Greene County, Pennsylvania, that will become a 10-megawatt solar farm, and a former dump site in the Fort Belknap Indian Community in Montana that will be converted to a solar farm, saving local residents an estimated $2.8 million in energy costs over 25 years, among many others.
Today’s announcement includes approximately $180 million from the historic $1.5 billion investment from President Biden’s 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 Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations.
The funding 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.
Applicants selected for funding in New York are:
- Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, Revolving Loan Fund Grant of $600,000
- City of Dunkirk, Assessment Grant of $300,000
- City of Gloversville, Assessment Grant of $500,000
- Village of Greenwich, Assessment Grant of $200,000
- Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, Assessment Grant of $500,000
- Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises Corporation, Revolving Loan Fund Grant of $1,000,000
- City of New York, Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant of $1,000,000
- Niagara County, Revolving Loan Fund Supplemental Grant of $3,900,000
- Oswego County, Assessment Grant of $500,000
- Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Inc., of Newburgh, Assessment Grant of $500,000
- Wayne County, Revolving Loan Fund Grant of $1,000,000
- WCBC North, LLC, of Arcade, Cleanup Grant of $500,000
The national list of the applicants selected for funding is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2022-brownfields-assessment-rlf-cleanup-arc-grants-and-rlf
Since its inception in 1995, EPA’s investments in brownfield sites have leveraged more than $35 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. 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 Brownfields 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 brownfields sites.
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Law that I led to passage included a historic $1.5 billion for the EPA’s Brownfields program, and now those dollars are jumpstarting long-delayed clean-ups at toxic sites from the Mohawk Valley to Niagara County,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer. “Cleaning up these polluted sites is critical to breathing new life into these communities to attract businesses and create new good-paying jobs. This $10.5 million federal investment will not only ensure that municipalities will not have to take on debt to clean up these waste sites, but will protect the health of our families, environment, and will accelerate economic recovery.”
“Brownfields are a serious threat to the environment and to public health,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. “Cleaning them up and turning them into usable spaces like parks, recreation facilities, and housing revitalizes our communities and spurs local economic development. I’m proud to have fought to pass the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that helped provide the funding for this cleanup and I applaud EPA for working to address contamination across New York State.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is laying the foundation for healthier, cleaner and vibrant communities, while supporting jobs right here at home,” said Rep. Brian Higgins. “This $4 million federal investment, represents a significant boost to a program that will play a critical role in transitioning Niagara County’s old, industrial sites to destinations that are new, exciting and welcoming to the public and to economic opportunities.”
“I believe in Newburgh, and projects like this are central to revitalizing the community and bringing new life to old buildings downtown,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. “As one of the authors of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, I am thrilled to see this money being put to good use here in the Hudson Valley. This grant to Safe Harbors will allow them to continue their important work rebuilding and revitalizing spaces across Newburgh.”
“We thank the Biden Administration, EPA Administrator Regan, and Regional Administrator Garcia for their $10 million investment in New York and supporting federal brownfield cleanup programs as critical tools to remediate pollution and revitalize communities,” New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “This federal investment will bolster New York State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program, which continues to get stronger with unwavering support from Governor Hochul’s recent 10-year extension of the initiative. In New York we have countless examples of how Brownfield cleanups can turn formerly abandoned hazardous sites, often community eyesores, into vibrant, usable spaces for businesses, housing, and parks development. With this new influx of support, New York will continue to set an example of how investing in our communities yields valuable and timeless results.”
Mark R. Geise, Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency CEO and Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, said: “The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency is extremely grateful to have been awarded funding through EPA’s Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund grant program. These critical resources will contribute to ongoing community revitalization efforts across Chautauqua County, New York by enabling our agency to provide loans and sub-grants specifically to aid in brownfield cleanup and redevelopment efforts.”
Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas said: “The EPA Brownfield Assessment Grant will be a vital tool to assist with revitalization efforts that have been underway in the City of Dunkirk. Dunkirk has long suffered being a post-industrial City with abandoned and vacant properties that have sat fallow with abundant potential for redevelopment. EPA funding that assists with the environmental assessments of brownfield properties will streamline the redevelopment process in Dunkirk leading to new opportunities to attract developers and investment to deliver new housing, commercial, and industrial development projects. On behalf of the citizens of Dunkirk, we are thankful to the EPA for contributing to our vision to make Dunkirk a City where people want to live, work and play on the shores of Lake Erie.”
Gloversville Vincent DeSantis Mayor said: “The former grant our city was awarded in 2019 has been a game changer for Gloversville. It has put us in a position to take action on a number of sites that have been off limits to redevelopment for decades. This new grant will now enable us to tackle several more abandoned former industrial sites. This assessment process will usher in a new era for our city. We are now in a position to re-imagine Gloversville’s future as a thriving 21st century community.”
Village of Greenwich Mayor Pam Fuller said: “The people of the Village of Greenwich have repeatedly identified the former Dunbarton Mill property as a valued site in our history and our future. Recently, we refined a vision plan through participation in the NYS BOA grant. We are thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to take the next step in the road to its recovery and rehabilitation.”
John J. Piseck, CEO Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency, said: "The Herkimer County IDA truly appreciates the continued support given by EPA and we look forward to working on many projects throughout the course of this assessment grant. Herkimer County continues to invest in brownfield redevelopment to get properties back to being productive. With this grant funding we look to support many community brownfield projects."
Steven J. DiMeo, Mohawk Valley Economic Development Growth Enterprises President, said: “MVEDGE has worked for nearly two decades to build a brownfields coalition across the Mohawk Valley; so this $1 million revolving loan fund arrives at a uniquely opportune moment in time. The region has solid economic momentum as there is more private sector investment interest for reclaiming our urban centers and village main streets, redeveloping our industrial corridors and revitalizing our waterfronts across Oneida and Herkimer Counties. EDGE is grateful to the USEPA for this award and the opportunity it provides to reimagine our region’s economic future.”
“We are thrilled that EPA has awarded New York City supplemental RLF cleanup funds,” said Mark McIntyre, director of the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation. “We will continue to use this important funding to defray the cost of constructing 100% affordable housing developments in New York City.”
Niagara County Chairwoman Rebecca Wydysh said: “Niagara County has been a leader on brownfield efforts and this grant award demonstrates our commitment and progress towards site remediation and redevelopment.”
Jim Weatherup, Chairman of the Oswego County Legislature, said, “Oswego County has a long history of working with the EPA and the NYS DEC to address brownfield properties. Rehabilitation of these sites not only helps to increase tax revenue on those properties, but it also can also inspire new investment and the jobs that come with it. We appreciate the EPA’s help and look forward to the positive impact this program will have on our local and regional economy.”
Lisa Silverstone, Safe Harbors of the Hudson Executive Director, said: “Safe Harbors of the Hudson, an affordable housing and arts redevelopment in the City of Newburgh, NY, is thrilled to have received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfield Community-Wide Assessment grant. We look forward to working with the City and the Mayor’s Strategic Economic Development Advisory Committee on this critical work, which will pave the way for healthy, redevelopment and revitalization in our community.”
Brian Pincelli, Director Wayne County Economic Development & Planning, said: “We are extremely appreciative of the support we continue to receive from the EPA. Building on the implementation of our Community Wide Assessment Grant program, this revolving loan fund will play a critical role in our efforts to bring brownfields across the County back to productive use.”
“On behalf of the community, I am very grateful the WCBC North, LLC, has been awarded an EPA Brownfield Cleanup grant of $500,000 to assist with the mitigation of the former Emkay dairy processing facility in the Village of Arcade,” said James Pierce, Manager of the WCBC North, LLC. “This abandoned and contaminated property has been a public health hazard for over 20 years, and the grant funding is a critical first-step in cleaning up and developing a clear path for future site development.”
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 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 at www.brownfields2022.org
For more on Brownfields Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-funding
For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields