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North Dakota Tribes receive $810,000 to clean up and revitalize properties

Spirit Lake Tribe and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians receive funds to clean up contaminated properties

05/06/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

Bismarck, N.D.  -- Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $810,000 in Brownfields grants to cleanup properties on the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation and the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. The Tribes are among 151 communities across the nation receiving over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through our Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant programs. Under President Trump’s Administration, EPA has delivered approximately $287 million in Brownfields grants directly to communities and nonprofits for cleanup and redevelopment, job creation, and economic development through the award of over 948 grants.

“These EPA Brownfields funds will help our partners at the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians support priority cleanup projects in several tribal communities in North Dakota,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “We will continue find ways to help these Tribes as they work to clean up contaminated properties, protect human health, and create new opportunities for property reuse.”

“Today’s awards are an investment in the health and well-being of the residents of the Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain reservations,” said Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Further, by cleaning up environmental hazards, these efforts will enable the impacted properties to be put to good use, supporting access to housing and opportunities for economic growth.”

“Grants for cleaning contaminated properties will improve the quality of life for North Dakota tribes and give them additional resources to protect their health and utilize their property,” said Senator Kevin Cramer.  “I thank Administrator Wheeler and Regional Administrator Sopkin for choosing the Spirit Lake Tribe and the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians as recipients.”

“Reusing and repurposing land is at the heart of conservation and a shared priority of the Spirit Lake Tribe, the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, and the federal government,” said Congressman Kelly Armstrong. “These grants will go a long way in cleaning up these brownfield properties for use and enjoyment by future generations. I thank the Trump Administration for its efforts to support clean air, land, and water.”

Spirit Lake Tribe, Fort Totten, St. Michael, and Sheyenne, ND 

Brownfields Cleanup Grant : $310,000 

The Spirit Lake Tribe will use the EPA grant to clean up metals and inorganic contaminants at five relocatable houses, two abandoned office buildings, and a building formerly used to house domestic animals.  These properties are located in the communities of Fort Totten, which is within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, St. Michael, and Sheyenne in the Spirit Lake Reservation.

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Belcourt, ND 

Brownfields Cleanup Grant: $500,000 

The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians will use the EPA grant to clean up the Old L’BelCour Housing Buildings 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 19, and 20 located at 9818 BIA Road #7 Street 1 in Belcourt. The seven buildings were developed in 1965-1966 as housing, and are contaminated with metals, mercury, and organic and inorganic contaminants. Grant funds also will be used to develop a cleanup plan and support community involvement activities. The buildings are located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone. 

“We appreciate the support of all who assisted in getting us this grant,” said Ray Reed, Brownfields Coordinator for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. “Their understanding of the human condition and needs of our Reservation made it possible for a fast track improvement of housing on Indian Land.  The council and community members see hope for a better health and welfare for our people and the yet unborn. This size of a cleanup project and possible redevelopment of future safe and adequate housing for our members would have not been possible without these cleanup grants, along with the hard work that all have assisted my program in getting these grants awarded for this project! Thank you again.”

Nationwide, this year, the agency is announcing the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding the agency’s 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. Of the 151 total communities selected, 118 of these communities can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated in these zones. In addition, nearly 30% of the communities selected today will receive brownfields funding for the first time.

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

The next National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing former commercial and industrial properties. EPA co-sponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

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