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EPA Selects Six Virginia Projects to Receive $1.7 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 six Virginia communities have been selected to receive a total of $1.7 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 Virginia Brownfields Grant recipients are:

Altavista, VA, Assessment Grant - $300,000:  Assessment activities will focus on the town’s downtown district and an adjacent former industrial district. Priority sites include the Lane Furniture Plant and the English Alley Triangle.

Bristol, VA, Assessment Grant - $300,000: The target area for this grant includes the Bob Morrison Boulevard Area, which is in a Qualified Opportunity Zone, and the Fairview Street Neighborhood. Priority sites include a 10-acre former lingerie factory and a 19-acre former paper mill and iron company that has been vacant for over 20 years.

Pulaski, VA, Assessment Grant - $300,000: Assessment activities will focus on the Midtown and Hospital Hill areas, which include Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include an abandoned former furniture company, the former Pulaski Hospital site and the historic Calfee Training School.

Saltville Industrial Development Authority, Saltville, VA, Cleanup Grant - $250,000: Grant funds will be used to clean up the Former Saltville Town Shop in the Town of Saltville. Historically, the site was subject to extensive solution salt mining, which involved the injection of water and extraction of salt brine from wells.

The Nature Conservancy, Jonesville, VA, Cleanup Grant - $208,000: Grant funds will be used to clean up the former Russell Sawmill Tract located adjacent to and north of State Route 662 two miles west of the Town of Jonesville. The 71.7-acre cleanup site was used for sawmill operations from 1990 until 2011.’

Waynesboro, VA, Assessment Grant - $300,000: Assessment funds will focus on the City’s Entryway Corridor and Downtown area, parts of which are both located in Qualified Opportunity Zones. Priority sites include a former brass foundry and additional properties with a history of commercial, automotive, and light industrial use.

“Cleaning up and redeveloping old industrial sites can be an enormous challenge for local governments,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09). “The EPA’s Brownfields program offers vital assistance in getting the job done. The grants awarded today are a significant investment in our region’s environmental renewal and economic opportunity.”

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 Clean up 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 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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