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EPA Selects Eight Pennsylvania Projects to Receive $3.7 Million for Brownfields Cleanup and Assessment

05/06/2020
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PHILADELPHIA (May 6, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that eight Pennsylvania communities have been selected to receive a total of $3.7 million to assess and clean up contaminated properties under the agency’s Brownfields program.

“These grants will help 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 Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “These funds are going to areas that need them the most. Several of the selected recipients are receiving Brownfields grants for the first time or targeted to areas within Opportunity Zones.”

The Pennsylvania Brownfields Grant recipients are:

Beaver County, PA, Assessment Grant - $600,000: Assessment activities will focus on the City of Beaver Falls, and the Boroughs of Midland, Monaca and Rochester. Priority sites in these communities are largely former steel factory sites and other blighted and polluted industrial spaces. The target areas of Beaver Falls and Midland contain Qualified Opportunity Zones

Clearfield County Economic Development Corporation, PA, Cleanup Grant - $500,000: Grant funds will be used to clean up the Former Howes Leather site in Curwensville. The site operated as a tannery from the early 1900s until 2004 and is currently vacant. The site is contaminated with heavy metals co-mingled with petroleum products from two underground storage tanks that were removed in 1993.

Earth Conservancy, Hanover Township, PA, Cleanup Grant - $500,000: Grant funds will be used to clean up Segment F of the Espy Run in Hanover Township. The 2.4-mile Espy Run flows through land that had been used for anthracite mining.

Greenville, PA, Assessment Grant - $600,000: Community-wide grant funds will be used to inventory and prioritize sites and conduct environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop five cleanup plans and support reuse planning. Assessment activities will focus on the Greenville Borough and the adjacent Townships of Delaware, Hempfield and Pymatuning.

Johnstown, PA Assessment Grant - $600,000: Grant funds will be used to select priority sites and conduct 19 environmental site assessments. Grant funds also will be used to develop three cleanup plans, develop an area-wide plan for the Cambria Iron/Center for Metal Arts site. Assessment activities will focus on 11 former steel and industrial sites within Johnstown and Cambria County, all of which are located in Qualified Opportunity Zones

Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority, Assessment Grant - $300,000: Assessment activities will focus on two areas — the Keystone Employment and Economic Plan (KEEP) Project Site and the Town Core Sites area — within the Borough of Pottstown, which has three Qualified Opportunity Zones. The 255-acre KEEP Project Site consists of 13 abandoned and underutilized commercial and industrial properties. The Town Core Sites area also includes multiple abandoned, vacant or underutilized parcels located near the Schuylkill River.

Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism, Emlenton, Parker, and Foxburg, PA, Assessment Grant - $300,000: Assessment activities will target the Towns of Emlenton, Parker and Foxburg. Priority sites include the Quaker State Refinery, the Former Fuchs Lubricants Facility, the Shoup Trucking Yard, and the Parkers Landing Outfitter Property.

Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development, Assessment Grant - $300,000: Assessment activities will focus on the 3,700-acre Lower Schuykill district in south and southwest Philadelphia, which has experienced several manufacturing closures and comprises 68 percent of the city’s vacant and underutilized industrial land. This district is also home to numerous QUALIFIED OPPORTUNITIES ZONES.

“Thank you to the EPA and the Trump Administration for recognizing Greenville’s need for support in the effort to clean up Trinity North and South, said Congressman Mike Kelly (PA-16). “As we look to rebuild our economy, this grant will put our friends and neighbors back to work and encourage investment in our communities.”  

“Today I am pleased to announce that the EPA has awarded a Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant to Johnstown and Cambria County, which is great news for our community,” said Congressman Dr. John Joyce (PA-13).  “This $600,000 grant will assist in redeveloping former steel and industrial sites in Johnstown and Cambria County, welcoming new economic development into our region. As this project moves forward, I look forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration and community leaders to invest resources in Johnstown.” 

Nationwide, 151 communities are selected to receive grant awards totaling over $65.6 million. in EPA brownfields funding through the 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.

“Grants from the EPA’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization Program are a valuable tool to ensure land in many rural communities remains safe, habitable, and cultivatable,” said Congressman, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15.).  “I’m pleased to see that the EPA has invested in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District, with grants in both Clearfield County as well as the historic Oil Region. These funds will help ready the land for economic and recreational opportunities in the future, and they are well deserved.”  

 “We know this type of funding is sorely needed in northeastern Pennsylvania,” said Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-08).  “This not only helps clean up the environment, but also allows these properties to be used for future economic development and supporting the local economies.”

I am delighted to announce this much needed investment from the EPA into the cleanup of these abandoned industrial sites in the district,” said Congresswoman Madeleine Dean (PA-04). “This project will launch the environmental cleanup of neglected properties and boost the revitalization efforts that have been ongoing in Pottstown.”

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 percent following cleanup.

Background

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 leveraged more than 160,000 jobs from both public and private sources,

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

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EPA Mid-Atlantic Region’s mission is to protect human health and the environment for Delaware, District of Columbia Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and seven federally recognized tribes.  Meeting the diverse environmental challenges of a Region with the nation’s largest estuary, rural expanses and major cities and agricultural centers, EPA Mid-Atlantic’s successes are shouldered by the dedication and talents of its employees and the strong relationships it has fostered with partners in its states and communities.  For more information, visit: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-02/documents/r3_digital-final-mid-atlantic-yir-report-2019.pdf

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