EPA awards Missoula County $300K to support property cleanup and redevelopment
Brownfields grant to help assess and revitalize locations in Milltown, East Missoula, and Evaro
DENVER - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding Missoula County a $300,000 Brownfields assessment grant targeting properties in Milltown, East Missoula and Evaro, Montana. The County is among 149 communities selected to receive grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) grant programs.
Missoula County will use the EPA grant funds to conduct environmental assessments and develop cleanup plans at priority sites, including two former plywood mill sites on the Blackfoot and Clark Fork Rivers, former fueling stations in East Missoula, and the J&N Post and Pole wood-treatment site on the Flathead Indian Reservation in the Town of Evaro.
“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.”
“Missoula County is prioritizing the redevelopment of properties to create new housing, economic opportunities, and recreational amenities for their residents,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We look forward to seeing the areas targeted by EPA’s grant revitalized as places where people live, work and play.”
The assessment, cleanup and redevelopment of these properties will support the expansion of Milltown State Park and improve river and recreational access for the public. Redevelopment plans in East Missoula include additional housing, office, and commercial space to serve residents. Assessments on the J&N Post and Pole site will be completed to clear land for sale and the redevelopment of much-needed housing on the Reservation. Contaminants of concern on these properties include metals, PCBs, pentachlorophenol and petroleum compounds.
“As the economy in Missoula County continues to shift away from the timber industry, there are large underutilized properties that have been slow to redevelop due to the presence or perception of contamination,” said Sindie Kennedy, Missoula County Brownfields Coordinator. “A Brownfields Assessment Grant from the EPA will provide essential support for preparing these properties for redevelopment and creating new economic and recreational opportunities for Missoula County residents and its visitors.”
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.
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.
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.
List of applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
EPA booklet “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