EPA visits Turtle Mountain Reservation to deliver $500K to clean up and redevelop residential buildings in Belcourt and Dunseith, North Dakota
Brownfields grant to secure much-needed housing and office space
DENVER - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today visited the Turtle Mountain Reservation today to deliver a $500,000 Brownfields cleanup grant to clean up and restore residential properties on the Reservation. Patrick Davis, senior advisor to the EPA regional administrator, was hosted by Tribal Chairman Jaime Azure and other officals representing the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians for a tour highlighting the progress the Tribe is making to address blighted and potentially contaminated sites on the Reservation.
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians is among 149 communities selected to receive grant awards totaling $64,623,553 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) grant programs. The Tribe is also among 108 communities selected for grants this year that 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.
“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.”
The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians will use the EPA grant to clean up four residential buildings within the 10-acre L’BelCour area at 9819 BIA Road #7 Street 1 in Belcourt and two single-story homes on five acres at 99th Street NE Jackrabbit Rd 308/309 in the City of Dunseith. L’BelCour contains extensive asbestos contamination in the building materials, and the two former homes have asbestos, lead-paint and lead in the soils. Grant funds also will be used to support community involvement activities. The Tribe plans to redevelop these sites into energy-efficient housing and office space.
“This project is an example of how EPA Brownfields funds can help tribes address environmental concerns and secure much-needed and essential services for their communities,” said Patrick Davis, senior advisor to the EPA regional administrator. “Our partners at Turtle Mountain continue to find ways to use these resources to transform blighted properties and create new amenities and economic opportunities.”
The Tribe has successfully used EPA Brownfields grants in the past for environmental assessments, cleanups, job training and to support their Brownfields Program. Most recently, Turtle Mountain’s Brownfields program completed cleanup and demolition of the Block Grant Building in Belcourt. The property has been reused as a winter skating rink and warming hut. They have also leveraged brownfields funding for cleanup and tank removal at the former Buddy Falcon Gas Station, the Old Administration Building and others. The Tribe have also performed multiple environmental assessment across the Reservation allowing properties to be put back into productive use.
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 U.S. 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.
Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfield 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 have been 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.
List of applicants selected for funding: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy19-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
EPA booklet “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
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