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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Brownfields Funding Announced for Newark, New Jersey

06/05/2019
Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)
212-637-3664

NEW YORK – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected 149 communities across the country including Newark, New Jersey to receive funding for brownfield site revitalization to help local governments redevelop vacant and unused properties, transforming communities and local economies.

“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.”

“Brownfields grants have the power to protect New Jersey’s public health communities, and they are a smart economic investment,” said U.S. Senator Cory Booker. “This is the next step in the revitalization of my home, the City of Newark, and will transform sites along the Passaic River from dangerous eyesores to redeveloped areas that can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“Cleaner environments create stronger communities,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Debbie Mans. “Throughout New Jersey, sites like these can become thriving assets that make their cities and neighborhoods safer and more enjoyable for everyone. We are pleased to share this commitment to revitalizing brownfields with the EPA.”

“Newark’s formerly industrial Passaic riverfront has enormous potential for redevelopment once hazardous brownfields are cleaned up and made safe,” said Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “The grant to remediate the 1,250-acre section of the riverfront in the North Ward, including the former Seton Leather Company and Q Petroleum sites will help the people of Newark unlock the value, repurpose and gain access to one of our city’s treasures.”

EPA has selected the City of Newark for an $800,000 Brownfields Multipurpose Grant to assess sites for hazardous substances and petroleum contamination, develop cleanup and reuse plans, and conduct cleanup activities. The target area for this grant is the 1,250-acre North Ward of the Newark riverfront, which is centered around a heavily industrialized area along the Passaic River. Priority sites include the Seton Leather Company, a former leather manufacturing facility; and Q Petroleum Incorporated, a former heating fuel oil transfer station.

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 City of Newark 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:

https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants

For Brownfields success stories, please see “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

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page,

http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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