News Releases from Region 02
EPA Brownfield Funding Announced for Naranjito, Puerto Rico
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 149 communities across the country including the Municipality of Naranjito, Puerto Rico to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies. EPA’s Caribbean Environmental Protection Division Director Carmen Guerrero announced the funding alongside the Municipality of Naranjito Director of Federal Programs, Pedro Santiago-Rodriguez.
“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.”
“With EPA’s Brownfields grants, communities can take contaminated, blighted properties and turn them into usable, environmentally and economically profitable land,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “We are thrilled to work with our state and local partners to fund under-served and disadvantaged communities cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties.”
EPA selected the Municipality of Naranjito, Puerto Rico to receive a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant to assess sites for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination. Grant funds will also be used to prepare cleanup plans, update and prioritize a brownfield inventory, and conduct community involvement activities. The target areas for this grant are the PR5/152 Corridor and the Anones District.
Of the 149 communities selected nationwide, 108 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. The grant to the Municipality of Naranjito will address Opportunity Zones in targeted areas.
Overview of the Funds Being Announced Today
The communities selected for brownfields funding this year include:
- Geographically diverse set of communities:
- 149 communities across the country in all 10 EPA regions.
- Diverse types of communities:
- 19% of selected proposals are in urban areas,
- 81% of selected proposals are in non-urban areas (population of 100,000 or less),
- 40% of the grants will go to the smallest of communities with populations of 10,000 or less.
- And, new communities that have never received brownfields funding before:
- 40% of selected communities are receiving brownfields funding for the first time.
Brownfields grants have been shown to increase local tax revenue and residential property values. 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. Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfields sites increased between 5 and 15% following cleanup.
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.
For a list of EPA’s brownfields program applicants selected for funding:
For Brownfields success stories, please see “Brownfields: Properties with New Purpose, Improving Local Economies in Communities with Brownfield Sites”
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