EPA Selects Bernalillo County, New Mexico, for $600,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant
Funds are part of $65.6 million awarded nationwide
DALLAS – (May 12, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing that Bernalillo County, New Mexico, will receive $600,000 as a Brownfields assessment grant. The funding is part of $65.6 million given nationwide to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields Program. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfield grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of 948 grants.
“EPA’s Brownfields funding has a proven track record of helping communities stimulate economic growth and job opportunities by rehabilitating abandoned properties,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “Bernalillo County’s Brownfields coalition will continue to be an effective partnership for leveraging this funding and bringing these sites back into use.”
“This is a chance to correct some environmental mistakes that were made while the South Valley of Bernalillo County was growing into the vibrant, productive area it is today,” said Bernalillo County District 2 Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada. “This grant presents a new opportunity to improve the health and safety of this area and for the residents of Bernalillo County.”
Bernalillo County will use the grant to focus on the unincorporated areas of South Valley and the commercial corridors of Bridge Boulevard, Rio Boulevard, and Broadway Boulevard within the county, which include Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include a 4.6-acre former paint manufacturing site and a group of properties with a history of heavy industrial and manufacturing use. Coalition partners are the Partnership for Community Action and the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation.
Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA brownfields funding the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. These funds will aid under-served and economically disadvantaged communities, including neighborhoods located in Opportunity Zones, in assessing and cleaning up abandoned industrial and commercial properties. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields 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 are 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.
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 United States. EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995 and has provided nearly $1.6 billion in brownfield grants to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. To date, brownfields investments have leveraged more than $31 billion in cleanup and redevelopment. Over the years, the relatively small investment of federal funding, from both public and private sources, leveraged more than 160,000 jobs.
The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, 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.
List of the FY 2020 applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2020-brownfields-assessment-revolving-loan-fund-and-cleanup-0
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
For more information about EPA’s role in Opportunity Zones: https://www.epa.gov/opportunity-zones
For information on the studies related to the Brownfields Program’s environmental and economic benefits: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/brownfields-program-environmental-and-economic-benefits
Connect with EPA Region 6:
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eparegion6
On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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