EPA Selects University of Southern Maine for $350,000 Pollution Prevention Grant
Grant funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
FREEPORT, ME (Sept. 8, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the University of Southern Maine (USM) to receive a $350,000 Pollution Prevention (P2) grant made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's historic $100 million investment in the program. This grant will help support sustainability in the Maine craft beverage industry.
"EPA is very pleased that this grant for University of Southern Maine will help reduce pollution from being created in the first place," said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. "Funding authorized by Congress and the Biden Administration in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will reduce pollution in many communities, including some of Maine's urban neighborhoods. This will in turn protect people's health where they live, work and play."
USM's project will provide onsite and offsite technical assistance to the Maine craft beverage industry to increase operational efficiencies, limit pollution, and create a healthier working environment and community. With University of Southern Maine student interns, the project team will assist 15-20 craft beverage businesses with technical assistance including a New England Sustainable Craft Beverage recognition program, best practices, benchmarking tools, alternative cleaners and sanitizers, and financing P2 upgrades, including refrigerants. The grantee will also develop education and outreach events and resources, and amplify their work through postings, a video and speaking engagements. To gain participation and distribute resources, the grantee will utilize previously established P2 connections with businesses, professional organizations, and connections established by prior EPA P2 assistance.
"Maine's craft beverage industry is an important economic driver in Maine. With over 145 breweries and growing, this sector added more than $600 million to the Maine economy in 2021 alone. Every weekend, especially during summer, we see tourists and locals alike visiting Maine's many fine breweries and contributing to our local economy. Yet these businesses use significant water, energy, and chemicals in their day-to-day operations. With the renewed support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pollution Prevention Program, we are proud to assist the Maine craft beverage industry - building upon our work with dozens of breweries to date - take action to reduce their environmental footprint, continue to serve their communities, and bolster the state's economy," said Martha Sheils, Director of the New England Environmental Finance Center.
The USM grant is one of three P2 grants being awarded in New England, for a combined total of $1.05 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, and in turn are part of 39 grants announced nationally that will share nearly $12 million. These EPA grants will allow states and tribes to provide businesses with technical assistance to help them develop and adopt P2 practices to prevent or reduce pollution before it is even created, while also reducing business and liability costs. At the same time EPA is awarding four additional P2 grants in New England worth $800,000 in traditional P2 funding. All combined, these new grants represent an unprecedented investment of nearly $1.9M in P2 programs throughout New England.
The P2 Program advances President Biden's Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of certain government programs to underserved communities. State and Tribal programs awarded grants will not be required to provide matching funds, as is required by traditional P2 grants. The ability to waive the match requirement under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in addition to the new National Emphasis Area (NEA) for businesses in Indian country, helped to broaden and diversify the applicant pool. Many grants selected will support implementing pollution prevention practices in Indian country.
"Through this federal funding and with help from the University of Southern Maine, brewers in Maine and New England are becoming industry leaders in sustainability, mitigating their environmental impact, and improving their communities. We're excited to see this investment in our state, and look forward to it fostering innovation and helping our breweries be good environmental stewards – it's a victory worth toasting," said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.
The United States produces billions of pounds of pollution each year and spends billions of dollars per year controlling this pollution. Preventing pollution at the source, also known as P2 or source reduction, rather than managing waste after it is produced is an important part of advancing a sustainable economic and environmental infrastructure. P2 can lessen exposure to toxic chemicals, conserve natural resources, and reduce financial costs for businesses, particularly costs associated with waste management, disposal and cleanup. These practices are essential for protecting health, improving environmental conditions in and around disadvantaged communities, and preserving natural resources like wetlands, groundwater sources, and other critical ecosystems.
These grants are the first of five P2 grant programs over the next five years that will be funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA has announced two other new grant opportunities funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. One will encourage products, purchasing, and/or supply chains that are safer, more sustainable, and environmentally preferable and the other will encourage businesses that are working in, or working with, underserved and disadvantaged communities to adopt P2 practices.