EPA’s Ortiz announces Brownfields funding to West Virginia to revitalize sites in Lewis County, Morgantown and state target areas
PHILADELPHIA (May 24, 2022) – Communities across West Virginia will receive $2.5 million in Brownfields grants to help clean up and revitalize abandoned industrial properties, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced during a visit by EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz last week.
“West Virginia has done so much for our country providing energy and manufacturing. However, in many places the polluters have skipped town, leaving hazardous sites in the laps of these communities," said Ortiz. "We are stepping up here to help them out."
The Brownfields funding to these West Virginia communities are part of $254.5 million in Brownfields grants to 265 communities nationwide. The grants are supported by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which provides a total of $1.5 billion to advance environmental justice, spur economic revitalization, and create jobs by cleaning up contaminated, polluted, or hazardous brownfield properties.
“It’s great to see this funding heading our way to help support clean-up projects and assessments of Brownfield sites all across West Virginia,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. “Our state is known for the splendor of our landscape, making it even more important that we preserve our land for generations to come. Securing resources needed to protect West Virginians’ health and clean up contaminated sites for future development was a top priority as we worked to negotiate and craft the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). I appreciate EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Ortiz for making the trip to West Virginia today and for joining in our efforts keep our state wild and wonderful.”
Ortiz, joined by a contingent of public officials, visited the city of Weston in Lewis County on Wednesday to announce a $500,000 community-wide assessment grant to the Lewis County Commission that will be used to conduct 18 environmental site assessments and four cleanup plans. The target areas include Weston and the Town of Jane Lew. Priority sites include a residential corridor, a former vacant 0.12-acre church, the Danser Hardware and Supply Company properties, the former Polk Creek School, the former Jane Lew Glass Factory, and a former industrial site.
“These grants take the burden and risk away from local leaders for cleaning up these sites so they can implement their own vision for redevelopment,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz then headed to Fairmont in Marion County to announce a $2 million Brownfields grant to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection that will be used to conduct up to 80 environmental site assessments and prepare up to five site reuse and cleanup plans throughout target areas in West Virginia, which include the Southern Coalfields region, the Ohio River Valley region, and the Potomac Highlands region. Priority sites include an 85-year-old former middle school in Mullens, a former high school in Matewan, the 2,200-acre Century Aluminum plant, which operated as an aluminum smelter for 58 years in Ravenswood, a 288-acre former coal-fired generating facility in Gormania, and a former glass plant in Keyser.
"In terms of quality of life and economic revitalization, small towns and cities are where it is at,” Ortiz continued. “We love working with these officials and staff to bring sites back to life for local health and wealth. That is why we are here.”
On Thursday, EPA announced that the City of Morgantown, West Virginia, will also receive $500,000 in Brownfields grants to help clean up and revitalize an abandoned industrial property. Grant funds will be used to clean up the former Dinsmore Tire property on Don Knotts Boulevard in Morgantown as well as community involvement activities.
“I am pleased Regional EPA Administrator Adam Ortiz visited our great state to see firsthand the benefits of Brownfields funding, and I’m thrilled to announce West Virginia will receive funding from our bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to address these sites,” said Senator Joe Manchin. “The restoration and cleanup of Brownfields sites in West Virginia is vital to our state’s economic growth and health and ensuring our rural communities experience economic development is crucial to rebuilding our communities impacted by hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants.”
In addition to Brownfields grants announcements on his trip West Virginia, Ortiz visited Big John’s Salvage and Fairmont Coke Works, Superfund sites currently benefitting from BIL funding for accelerated clean-up efforts. He also met with the Eastern Watershed Basin Group and staff from the West Virginia Water Research Institute to learn about their work extracting rare earth materials from mine water.
For further information on the grants, brownfields news and events, and publications and links, visit the EPA Brownfields website at http://www.epa.gov/brownfields.